What Are Phytochemicals?

Phytochemicals are trace substances that protect plants from disease, injuries, insects, drought, excessive heat, ultraviolet rays, and poisons or pollutants in the air or soil.   They form the plant's immune system.  Current research is revealing how they impart their protective actions to people.  Scientists have found that phytochemicals boost our immune systems, and deter and relieve a variety of ailments.  The directors of the National Cancer Institute have recently allocated $20 million for new phytochemical research.  The American Cancer Institute has already begun a $6 million project to locate, isolate and analyze these powerful medical weapons found in fruits and vegetables.

"Just a few years ago scientists didn't even know phytochemicals existed.  Today they are the newest frontier in cancer-prevention research."
Newsweek, April 25, 1994

"Medical research into these powerful plant extracts is uncovering a wealth of health benefits, including the reduction of the risk of cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and other conditions that rob us of quality of life and lead to premature aging and death. Phytochemicals demonstrate a wide range of important medicinal qualities, including antioxidant, anticarcinogen, and antitumor activity, as well as the ability to help lower cholesterol, maintain normal blood pressure, and lessen the risk of heart disease.  Other phytochemicals help protect the liver from toxins, and aid in reversing memory and hearing loss, and are beneficial to those suffering from bronchial problems and asthma."   
Carl Ebnother, M.D.

"Phytochemicals help lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, stimulate regular heart beats, detoxify blood, rebuild the liver, heal ulcers and skin sores, relieve allergies and arthritis, improve memory, reduce deafness and ringing in the ears, alleviate depression and impotency, and are powerful antioxidants.  In the immune system, they help detect and deter tumors, and even the flu." 
Marcus Weller, Medical Science Editor

"At almost every step along the pathway to cancer, there are one or more compounds in vegetables or fruit that will slow up or reverse the process." 
University of Minnesota epidemiologist, John Potter
as quoted in Newsweek, April 25, 1994

"The discovery of phyto-nutrients is without question, the most important nutritional advance since the original discovery of vitamins and minerals.  They are already being called  'the vitamins and minerals of the future.' " 
Robert D. Willix Jr., M.D.

"Scientists have discovered hidden medical weapons in vegetables - phytochemicals.  They relieve a variety of illnesses and may be the most powerful tumor deterrent!  I strongly recommend that everyone learn what these plant extracts can do."  Jay Gordon, M.D., ABC TV Medical Correspondent and Author of Good Food Today, Great Kids Tomorrow.

"The latest buzz word in the health industry, phytochemicals, refers to the natural chemicals found in plants (phyto = plant).  These chemicals have only been discovered over the last few years, but scientists believe that they are the key to health, longevity and disease prevention.  To date over 100,000 different phytochemicals have been identified, but researchers believe that there are many more yet to be uncovered."

"Phytochemicals are the biggest health discovery of the decade!  For many years, an apple a day has been  "prescribed" to keep the doctor away.  It was thought that this was due to the 12 vitamins and 13 minerals that just one apple contains, which is indeed partly true.  The recent unearthing of the rest of the story, however, points to the healing powers of the 386 phytochemicals also found in a single apple!"

"Do these plant chemicals deserve all the credit they're getting?  Apparently so.  Phytochemicals have been shown to reduce the incidence of many different cancers, including breast, prostate and esophageal cancers.  They also help to lower cholesterol, prevent and even reverse heart disease, reduce arthritis pain and heal stomach ulcers.  Some act as antioxidants that capture free radicals and prevent them from damaging DNA and others are antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-osteoporotic."
Nina Turpin,  M.S.S.,  on Our Modern Dietary Habits,  Supporting the Immune System, and Phytochemicals.

"Research has shown that phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables seem to work their magic by interfering with the development of toxins at the cellular level.  Some prevent damage-causing chemicals from forming and others provide protection for cells.  And the toxins aren't the only targets of these nutritional weapons.  Some phytochemicals may forestall other negative conditions, while others block infections by boosting the natural defense system."
From the Dec. , 1994 McCalls "The Healing Power of Fruits and Vegetables."

"One gram of preventive phytochemicals is better than a ton of curative drugs."
Dr. James Duke of the U.S.D.A.

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