Although unrecognizable by most, phytochemicals are very important to humanity and our wellbeing.
This is because phytochemical substances are widely used for pharmacological and herbal medicine and are proven to improve health.
The practice of studying phytochemical substance from plants and food goes back generations and has evolved to become a science, one which we can thank for the increased understanding of substance effects on our body.
We delve into the background behind phytochemicals and how they help boost our health.
What are phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals can include many types of compounds such as lectins, protease, polyphenols, sulphides and many more.
They are found in plants, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, spices, nuts, seeds and fruits.
There are tens of thousands of identified phytochemicals and many more that are constantly being discovered, even in foods we regularly eat.
Although they are referred to as a homogeneous group, they have different chemical structures and are thus metabolized differently by the body, providing different health effects.
How do phytochemicals improve your health?
According to BreastCancer.org, there is evidence that consuming phytochemicals can reduce cancer risk by 40%. They can help stop the formation of cancer-causing substances and wipe out cancer-like changes.
They are also known to reduce risk for cardiovascular and other diseases, playing a great role in human health.
Ginsenoside standard phytochemicals, extracted from ginseng roots, are being investigated for their effects on cardiovascular disease prevention, as well as antidiabetics and chemopreventives. Hundreds of other phytochemicals are being studied as well.
Because of their positive effects on mind and body, they are frequently championed by herbal medicine.
Who uses extracted phytochemicals?
You can consume phytochemicals just by eating your regular day-to-day meals, as long as they include foods rich in these compounds.
However, there are a number of uses for phytochemicals across industries. Both the herbal product and medicinal research industries have a large need for these substances.
In order to acquire highly purified reference substances to be used in research, development or testing, the substances must be purchased from expert providers.
This is the case for a number of industries that require purified substances such as those in the fields of biology, crop protection, food and feed, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and flavor and fragrance industries.
How does this help us?
As long as industries continue to expand their research and development, humanity will benefit from the growing knowledge on the effect of phytochemicals on the body.
As a society, this can influence us to maintain healthier lifestyles, as well as produce medication (both herbal and pharmacological) that can help battle illness.