What Are Phytochemicals?


Phytochemicals are chemicals that occur in growing plants. It’s just another catchy term. It is more about food antioxidants and the role they play in metabolism and cholesterol and heart disease.

I am going to say that it is a term that popped up about 10 years ago like functional foods. Basically phytochemicals are those chemicals that usually act as an antioxidant in metabolism. There is so much talk about free radicals and oxidation of fat and metabolism you know when fat gets metabolized. Those chemicals will basically act to reduce free radicals. Therefore they are supposed to be effective in reducing cardiovascular disease.

I think it all keeps coming back to balance. You know my son and I had an interesting exchange of emails the other night. He had come across an article on energy consumption and where our nation was on consuming energy. You know the price of a barrel of oil and what was going to happen to energy costs and the rising consumption.

It was an article that was quite lengthy and it was basically a doomsday article about how we were going to run out of energy. Bottom line was that it left out human nature and innovative ideas that they will come up with when they need one. Then we read a totally different article that was optimistic and upbeat.

My point is, here are two articles with completely different points of view having to deal with the energy crisis or energy consumption. The same thing is true about nutrition. You can find different studies on either sides of the fence on about anything. What you have to do, and what I know in my professional experience, is know that studies can vary like that.

You know the fellow that I worked for that had the genius IQ? He used to tell me that when he graduated from high school and he thought he was a know it all and when he graduated from college with a 4 year degree he thought he knew a little less than when he got out of high school. But as he learned more and more he decided he knew less and less about what was going on in the industry. He said to me repeatedly that the food process is just a big gray area. If you just take one piece of information and hold on to it as the gospel truth you are going to be dead wrong about it. You have to keep an open mind about nutrition because it is constantly changing. You have to be current because it is a rapidly changing field.