Role of Phytonutrients in Good Nutrition
The term "phytonutrient" is applied to those plant compounds that promote better health,
although they are not absolutely essential to human health.
The crucial role of fresh, whole plants in human nutrition is undisputed.
Worldwide research has confirmed that diets rich in plants
can lead to optimal health.
Scientists know that plants improve health at least partially
because of the thousands of plant chemicals or compounds (phytonutrients) supplied in a
Different plant varieties produce different kinds of phytonutrients.
The level of phytonutrients within any given plant varies,
depending on the species of plant, the soil conditions and many other environmental
Unlike vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients are not classified
as essential; yet they appear to have many benefits for our overall health, both in general
and for specific conditions.
Plant-based food sources, including brightly-colored fruits and vegetables
Think "color," because different phytonutrients exist in fruits
and vegetables of varying colors.
No specific recommendations exist at this time for most or all phytonutrients. A general
recommendation is to consume five different-colored fruits and vegetables daily to benefit
from a variety of many different phytonutrients.
No standard levels of phytonutrient intake have been established; therefore, no over-consumption
levels have been published by leading health authorities.