shutterstock_253297969 fruit and veg

Phytochemicals and the foods you need to eat to get them.

Phytochemicals are the gifts from nature, which are responsible for the colour, taste and aroma of plant based foods. As well as these pleasant attributes, they protect us from environmental and ingested carcinogens and have anticancer properties. It is not a surprise then that the World Cancer Research Fund and other academic bodies, report that individuals eating phytochemical-rich foods have a significantly lower risk of cancer or relapse after treatments.

 There are four major groups of phytochemicals:

  •  The polyphenols, subcategorized as the flavonoids, phenolic acids and other non-flavonoid polyphenols.
  •  The terpenoids subcategorized as the carotenoids and non-carotenoid terpenoids
  • The thiols, glucosinolates, allylic sulfides and non-sulphur containing indoles
  •  A miscellaneous category with some properties within these 3 groups e.g. the betaines, chlorophylls and capsaicin.


The Polyphenols


 Flavonols: quercetin, kaempferol – Onions, kale, leeks, broccoli, buckwheat, red grapes, tea, apples

Flavones: apigenin, luteolin – Celery, herbs, parsley, chamomile, rooibos tea, capsicum, pepper

Isoflavones: genistein, daidzein, glycitein – Soya, beans, chick peas, alfalfa, peanuts

Flavanones: naringenin, hesperitin – Citrus fruit

Anthocyanidins – Red grapes, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, tea

Flavan-3-ols: (tannins) ;catechins, epicatechin, epigallocatechingallate – Tea, chocolate, grapes

Flavanolols: silymarin, silibinin, aromadedrin – Milk thistle, red onions

Dihydrochalcones: phloridzin,aspalathin – Apples, rooibos tea


Phenolic acids

 Hydrobenzoic acids; gallic acid, ellagic acid, vanillic acid – Rhubarb, grape seed, raspberries, blackberries, pomegranate, vanilla, tea

Hydroxycinnamic acids; ferulic acid, P-coumaric acid, caffeic acid, sinapic acid – Wheat bran, cinnamon, coffee, kiwi fruit, plums, blueberries


Other non-flavonoid polyphenols

 Other tannins Cereals, fruits berries, beans, nuts, wine cocoa

Curcuminoids Curcumin (Turmeric)

Stilbenes;cinnamic acid, resveratrol grapes, wine,blueberries, peanuts, raspberries

Lignans; secoisolariciresinol,enterolactone,sesamin grains, flaxseed, sesame seeds



 Carotenoid terpenoids:

 Alpha, beta and gamma carotene: Sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, kale

Lutein: Corn, eggs, kale, spinach, red pepper, pumpkin, oranges, rhubarb, plum, mango, papaya

Zeaxanthin:  Corn, eggs, kale, spinach, red pepper, pumpkin, oranges

Lycopene: Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, papaya

Astaxanthin  Salmon, shrimp, krill, crab


Non-carotenoid terpenoids:

 Saponins: Chickpeas, soya beans

Limonene: The rind of citrus fruits

Perillyl Alcohol: Cherries, caraway seeds, mint

Ursolic acid: Apples, cranberries, prunes, peppermint, oregano, thyme

Ginkgolides: Bilobalide Ginkgo Ginkgo biloba



 Glucosinolates; isothiocyanates and dithiolthiones – Cruciferous veg such as broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and radish

Allylic sulfides; allicin and S-allyl cysteine – Garlic, leeks, onions

Indoles, Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) –  Broccoli, brussel sprouts


Other phytochemicals:

Betaines: Beetroot

Chlorophylls: Green leafy vegetables

Capsaicin: Chilli

Peperine: Black pepper


Apart from shellfish and eggs all of these foods are those you need to be consuming each day! I would recommend juicing as a sure fire way of getting taking them on board.

Trisha’s Bio

trisha-in-america-001Where did it all begin, well looking back, it certainly was not learning from home and family. I am the youngest of 3 and was a “fat” child, not until I was about 8 though, I think? Never really took much notice then, my Brother was fat and so was my Sister, now, no one likes the word fat but basically that is what it is/was, too many fat cells and not enough lean tissue, physiologically, it is what it is!

We came from an era, post war, where sweets were very much allowed as well as puddings with custard nearly every day and lots of the wrong kind of foods, I had no choice as a youngster, no knowledge of what I was eating and why, I just knew I was provided with three meals a day and I ate them! It was considered very ungrateful if you did not, we were told there were lots of children in other countries who were starving!

I went to a little private “cottage” school and there would be that awful small bottle of milk, in Summer when it got warm, have to admit I never drank that stuff but the school lunches were two courses and plenty of it, roast dinners with a syrup and custard pudding was one day a week!

I did not really realise I was “fat” I just thought I was a big child, well developed or had “puppy fat” as it was then called. I did not realise in my early years that my Brother was overweight or my Sister – it just seemed normal. My parents were not fat when they were young parents but my Dad put on a lot of weight as he grew older, my Mother’s smoking habits kept her from eating too much so she was not overweight. I was not “obese” like you see children and adults today, just a big girl I guess, but yes, too many fat cells.Continue reading…