Eating a wide range of plants is central to long-term health. In addition to fibre, minerals and proteins, plants supply an enormous range of health-boosting compounds called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals include the caffeine in coffee, polyphenols in citrus and resveratrol in red wine. They produce the vibrant colours and delicious flavours of fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices. Phytochemicals provide us with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and can help lower blood pressure, balance cholesterol, stimulate our mind and feed our gut microbes. Many phytochemicals deliver health benefits through the same actions as common drugs, such as aspirin and anti-histamines. They help our bodies resist the development of diseases, such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, dementia, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.
This book provides a practical summary of phytochemicals and how they boost our health. It interprets the latest scientific research about phytochemicals that are supplied to us in common fruit and vegetables (including legumes, nuts and whole grains), herbs and spices, as well as Australian bush food plants.