Nutrition: An Approach to Good Health and Disease Management

Phytochemicals in Nutrition and Health

Author(s): Nicole A. Eggers and Esperanza J. Carcache de Blanco

Pp: 201-243 (43)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681081083116010010

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Some phytochemicals, or chemical compounds produced by or present in plants, may be nutritious for human consumption. Phytochemicals are not essential nutrients for humans, but they may contribute to preventing or treating diseases such as cancer, diabetes, diseases of the eye, and cardiovascular disease. In this chapter, some of the most important phytochemicals for human health and nutrition are detailed, along with their mechanisms of action, chemical structures, and specific health benefits. These health-promoting phytochemicals are present in familiar plant sources of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. The carotenoids in tomatoes, for example, are studied for anticancer effects and reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. The proanthocyanidins in cranberries can prevent or treat urinary tract infections. The isoflavonoids in soybeans mimic hormones, which contribute to the possible effectiveness in some breast cancers. The sulfur-containing phytochemicals in broccoli and Brussels sprouts have potential anticancer effects. A few sulfur-containing compounds in garlic are very good antibacterial agents. The study of chemical compounds present in common edible plants, allows students to correlate nutrition to disease prevention or treatment by functional foods; perhaps this chapter even facilitates thinking about foods as drugs.

Keywords: Aglycones, antioxidants, cancer, cardiovascular disease, carotenoids, chemical structures, chemopreventative agents, diabetes, eye diseases, flavonoids, glycosides, inflammation, natural colorants, obesity, organosulfur compounds, phytochemical index, phytochemicals, phytoestrogens, steroids, terpenoids.

Related Journals
Related Books
© 2024 Bentham Science Publishers | Privacy Policy