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Phytochemicals

Definition: Phytochemicals are non-nutritive compounds found in plants that have potential disease-inhibiting capabilities. Phytochemicals give plants their color and fragrance and may also protect the plant against certain fungal or bacterial infections. Today, phytochemicals are undergoing intensive research as anticarcinogenic compounds. For anyone who has trouble eating ample amounts of vegetables, taking certain phytochemicals in supplement form is highly recommended.

Indoles, a certain phytochemical found in cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sproutsùmay offer protection against certain types of cancer. Research strongly suggests that these particular phytochemicals may be extremely beneficial. For example, studies have found that indoles have the ability to block estrogen receptor sites in breast tissue. (Estrogen stimulation of the breast has been linked with tumor growth in some women.) In addition, there is some data which suggests that indoles actually inhibit the secretion of estrogen. Indoles may offer significant protection against breast and other types of hormone-linked cancers. They can now be taken in supplement form. Anyone at high risk for breast cancer should take indole supplements.

Allyl sulfides, found in onions, leeks and garlic, have antitumor, antibiotic and antitoxin actions.

Flavonoids, found in certain fruits and vegetables, have antioxidant properties and may also inhibit the development of certain cancers. They highly complement vitamin C.

Dithiolthiones, found in cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, Brussels's sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower) may protect cell DNA from carcinogenic threats.

Isoflavones, found in soybeans and soy by-products, may lower the incidence of breast and prostate cancer

Lignins, found in flaxseed, help to protect the heart and may lower the risk of colon cancer.

Limonene, found in the rind of citrus fruits, stimulates certain enzyme synthesis and has an antitumor effect.

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