Get Your 4 Phytonutrients in These Prevention Power Foods

Most people know that we need adequate amounts of oxygen, water, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and good carbs for great health. But you may not know much about a group of micronutrients, also called phytonutrients, that can help prevent disease and restore health and vitality. Phytonutrient-rich foods are essential to vibrant health and wellbeing, yet they are almost completely ignored by many diet plans.

There are about 2,000 known phytonutrients; many others are being discovered all the time. And, you guessed it, they’re found in fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, sprouts and seeds. A single fruit or vegetable may contain more than 100 different types of healing phytonutrients that basically make up the immune system of the plant.

Once eaten, phytonutrients impart their incredible healing abilities inside your body. The thousands of phytonutrients are categorized into families, including carotenoids, catechins, flavonoids, lipoic acid, phytoestrogens, polyphenols, sulfurophane, and others. Let’s explore the phytonutrient families and find out how you can include more of them in your diet.


These natural, health-boosting substances give certain fruits their purple to reddish color. Not only does research show that anthocy anins have the capacity to boost short-term memory by 100 percent in just eight weeks, they also stimulate the burning of stored fat in the body to be used as fuel.

Up your intake: Anthocyanins are found in dark purple or red grapes, cherries, and berries, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.


Not only do cartenoids help strengthen your eyesight and boost your immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that, in some studies, reduced the risk of cancer and protected against the effects of aging.

Up your intake: Carotenoids are the yellow, orange, and red pigments found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, papaya, peaches, and other similarly colored foods as well as dark green vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens.


Want to lose weight? Be sure to add catechins to your diet since they activate fat-burning genes in abdominal fat cells to assist with weight loss, and belly fat loss in particular. According to research at Tufts University, catechins increase abdominal fat loss by 77 percent and double total weight loss.

Up your intake: Catechins are mainly found in green and black tea, as well as apples.


Flavonoids are the miracle nutrients we keep hearing about in the media lately; they interfere with the stages of the development of cancer cells. Resveratrol, a particular flavonoid found predominantly in grapes, has demonstrated its ability to protect the brain from damage.

Up your intake: Flavonoids are found in berries, cherries, currants, pomegranates, red and purple grapes, red onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, apple (skin), and walnuts.

Now you can understand why phytonutrients play such a critical role in your diet. In the coming weeks, you’ll learn more about the disease-preventing and even disease-reversing powers of phytonutrients and how to get more of them in your diet.

Michelle Schoffro Cook is a six-time and best-selling author whose works include The Life Force Diet and The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan. She is a doctor of natural medicine, holistic nutritionist, and holistic life coach. Visit to learn more.

Learn more about how to eat for health with the Life Force Diet series, published on provides content and community for who you aspire to be -- personally, socially and globally. Ready to get started? Post your intent here.

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kirsti125's picture
User offline. Last seen 7 years 17 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 06/12/2008

Are these nutrients present in frozen fruits and veggies as well as fresh? Fresh produce is so expensive...and we're often told that flash frozen produce is better for us because it hasn't been sitting in crates waiting to be shipped and sold...

Leila421's picture
User offline. Last seen 6 years 26 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 01/21/2010

A great article, and so true! I'm not really a fresh fruit eater but I use berry powders instead. Because of the specific drying method they have basically the same amounts of vitamins and nutrients as fresh berries do. And your body can use the goodness of the ground seeds, unlike when eating fresh berries. A tablespoon of powder is equal to a big handful of fresh berries.

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