Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly eat fruits and vegetables have much lower chances of getting heart disease, cancer and many other chronic conditions. Unfortunately, less than 5% of us eat the recommended 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
As a result, we are not only missing important vitamins and minerals, but also phytochemicals, which scientists believe may be even more important than vitamins in preventing health problems. Phytochemicals are substances in plants that protect them from disease, injury and pollutants.
They form the plants' immune systems. The key to staying healthy, especially as you get older, is keeping your immune system strong. That's exactly what phytochemicals do best. Everyone, regardless of age, should supplement with phytochemicals to maintain a powerful immune system.
The National Cancer Institute directors are so excited about the success and potential of phytochemicals that they’ve committed a substantial portion of their multimillion-dollar budget towards more extensive research.
According to Dr. D. L. Davis, Senior Science Advisor at the U.S. Public Health Service, "Phytochemicals can take growths and defuse them. They can turn off the proliferative process of damaged cell growth" which can result in cancer.
Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins Medical Institute says that a phytochemical found in broccoli (sulforaphane) kept cancer-prone animals from getting tumors even when exposed to cancer-causing chemicals.
Several other studies have found that sulforaphane-type phytochemicals actually block the development of cancer cells BEFORE they are formed.
The seventh most common form of cancer occurs in the esophagus. Smokers and drinkers often have this problem. Dr. Gary Stoner and other scientists at Ohio State University's Cancer Prevention Laboratory found that sulforaphane reduced its incidence by 40% and the likelihood of spread by 90%.
The University of Illinois created a new department specifically for phytochemical research, with 63 professors and scientists involved. It’s apparent that phytochemicals are probably the promising illness deterrents to come along in many decades - with no side effects!
Dr. Gary Stoner of the University of Ohio, a specialist in breast and lung cancers, reported that isothiocyanates, found in cabbage, inhibit lung growths caused by chemicals (such as smoke). Cigarette smoke contains a tremendous number of free radicals, which are strongly implicated in causing cancer and other ailments.
One phytochemical found in garlic specifically attacks cigarette smoke free radicals, according to Dr. B. Torok's clinical tests at the University of Tubingen in Germany.
Reduced Cancer Growths From 50% to 75%!
A study conducted at Johns Hopkins Medical School of 41,837 women for five years showed that those who consumed garlic regularly had 50% lower risk of colon cancer. Scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute were able to reduce the number of tumors in cancer-prone rats by up to 75% with a phytochemical from garlic.
Phytochemicals Deter the Growth of Damaged Cells
Dr. H. Fujiki proved in tests at the National Cancer Research Institute that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in green tea leaves seals damaged cells, thereby preventing their growth and spreading. The doctor was able to reduce the number of cancers in animals by 47% and concluded that EGCG is one of the best growth deterrents available.
Researchers at University Hospital of Cleveland said that EGCG is an exceptionally powerful antioxidant. Their clinical tests showed that it deters skin, colon and stomach cancer.
In addition, it also lowers blood cholesterol levels. Prostate and Lung Researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that lycopenes, which are found in tomatoes, provide effective protection against lung and prostate cancer. In one large study involving almost 50,000 men, those whose consumption of lycopene was the highest had a 47% reduction in prostate cancer.
Scientists suggest that the reason men in Italy and Greece have considerably fewer prostate problems is that they eat more tomatoes than men do elsewhere.
You can have a Healthier Heart
Phytochemicals, common in most vegetables, may help deter heart disease because they destroy free radicals in the arteries. Spirulina and chlorophyll remove environmental poisons from the blood. Also, spirulina contains superoxide dismutase (SOD), a very effective antioxidant.
A phytochemical found in garlic is a strong antioxidant. Many studies have shown that it breaks down blood clots and reduces high blood pressure.
In one study of 432 heart attack patients, cardiologist Dr. Arun Bordia at Tagore Medical College in India showed that those who ate garlic suffered 66% fewer fatalities after three years.
Dr. Neil Martin reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology that garlic also helps reduce irregular heartbeats by almost 35%.
Faster Healing and Better Skin Texture
The best known phytochemical is chlorophyll; the green coloring in most plants that is commonly used as a breath freshener.
But it has some other amazing attributes. Scientists at the University of New York Medical School found that it quickly heals bedsores, improves skin texture and detoxifies dietary poisons that can cause health problems.
Cooking may Destroy Phytochemicals!
Phytochemicals, as well as most vitamins, are very sensitive to heat. According to the National Food Review Board, cooking destroys up to 93% of the nutrients. That's why it is better to eat your fruits and vegetables in their natural form.