They Come in Colors

A more recent devel­op­ment in the health field, phy­to­chem­i­cals are a hot topic when it comes to health and dis­ease pre­ven­tion. While much must be stud­ied in regards to how and why phy­to­chem­i­cals ben­e­fit us, there can be no ques­tion that they do a body good. Let’s explore why that is.

What are Phytochemicals?

Phy­to­chem­i­cals are chem­i­cals found within plants that have pro­tec­tive or disease-preventative prop­er­ties. Plants pro­duce these chem­i­cals as a way to pro­tect them­selves, but they also have been shown to ben­e­fit humans, as well. Research has revealed that more than 1000 phy­to­chem­i­cals can be found in plants.

How Do They Work?

Phy­to­chem­i­cals seem to work in two major ways:

  • Antiox­i­dant – Some phy­to­chem­i­cals func­tion by pro­tect­ing cells from oxida­tive dam­age. This may help pre­vent against can­cer and many other diseases.
  • Hor­monal Action – Other phy­to­chem­i­cals imi­tate human hor­mones, like estro­gen, help­ing to reduce menopausal symp­toms and osteoporosis.

Phy­to­chem­i­cals can also func­tion by inter­fer­ing with DNA repli­ca­tion, help slow the repli­ca­tion of can­cer cells. Oth­ers bind to cell walls to pre­vent the adhe­sion of pathogens.

Phy­to­chem­i­cals and Color

Research has linked the color of plants to the kind of phy­to­chem­i­cals they con­tain and the health ben­e­fits they pro­mote. So, what your veg­gies do for you depends on what color they are:

  • Blue/purple – Pro­motes heart health (pos­si­bly by pre­vent­ing blood clots from form­ing), man­ages blood pres­sure, aids mem­ory, fights aging.
  • Green – Helps pre­vent can­cer, pro­motes healthy vision, strong bones and teeth.
  • Red – Lower can­cer risk, pro­motes uri­nary tract health
  • Yellow/orange – Fos­ters heart health, healthy skin and bones, low­ers can­cer risk, bol­sters immune system.
  • White – Pro­tects cell mem­branes and other cel­lu­lar struc­tures, helps lower bad cho­les­terol, aids in man­ag­ing blood pressure.

So, as you can see, Skit­tles adver­tis­ers weren’t far off when they advised you to taste the rain­bow. It’s just that the rain­bow should be made out of fruits and veg­eta­bles, not candy.