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Phytochemicals

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Diet and nutrition

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Phytochemicals

  1. 1. PHYTOCHEMICALS By Dr. M. Sen
  2. 2. Learning Objectives At the end of this lesson, the student will know: • What are phytonutrients? • What their functions are in the human body • The way they act • Some important phytonutrients
  3. 3. What are they? • Phytonutrients (also referred to as phytochemicals) are compounds found in plants. • They serve various functions in plants, helping to protect the plant's vitality. • For example, some phytonutrients protect the plant from UV radiation while others protect it from insect attack.
  4. 4. • Not only do phytonutrients award benefit to the plants but they also provide benefits to those who enjoy plant food. • That's because they have health-promoting properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and liver-health-promoting activities.
  5. 5. • Phytonutrients aren't essential for keeping us alive, unlike the vitamins and minerals that plant foods contain. • But when we eat or drink phytonutrients, they may help prevent disease and keep our body working properly.
  6. 6. Why are colors important? • Interestingly, a lot of the phytochemicals that are good for us also produce bright colors in vegetables and fruits. • This is where the saying "Eat Your Colors" comes from. • It's also important to understand that each of these foods contains many different phytochemicals that can take care of different oxidation reactions in our cells.
  7. 7. Health benefits of Phyto-nutrients Studies have found that certain chemicals other than nutritional principles in them have anti-mutagenic, free radical scavenging and immunity boosting functions, which help promote health and prevent diseases, apart from their nutritive value.
  8. 8. Mode of Action • Studies suggest that cancers occur due to a series of mutational events occurring at the cellular level triggered by free-oxygen radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS). • These free radicals have the ability to damage cell’s DNA, cell membrane and proteins like ion channels, receptors, etc.
  9. 9. • Antioxidants by virtue of their reduction potentials can bind to oxidation radicals at these levels interrupt free-radical injury by reversing or limiting the extent of damage. • Several groups of antioxidants have been identified such as poly-phenolic flavonoids, anthocyanins, etc.
  10. 10. Types • Non-digestible carbohydrates, natural acids and enzymes • Some phytochemicals include detoxifying agents like non- starch polysaccharides (NSP) or dietary-fiber like gums, hemicellulose, mucilage, pectin, tannins, and alkaloids like caffeine and non-protein amino acids.
  11. 11. • NSP or dietary fiber increase bulk to the food and helps prevent constipation by decreasing gastro-intestinal transit time. • They also bind toxins in the food, prevent their absorption, and help protect the colon mucus membrane from diverticulitis and cancers. • In addition, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol) and decrease their re-absorption, thus help lower serum LDL cholesterol levels.
  12. 12. Plant Vitamins and Minerals • Pro-vitamin A (beta carotene) • Vitamin C • Vitamin K • Vitamin E • Most B vitamins (except B12) • Many minerals
  13. 13. Plant sterols • Plant sterols also known as phyto-sterols constitute mainly beta-sitosterol, however, differ in function than human sterols like cholesterol. • They are poorly absorbed by humans and in the process, appear to block the absorption of dietary cholesterol as well; and thus help reduce blood LDL cholesterol levels.
  14. 14. • Initial research studies have been found that experimental doses of plant sterols can be effective in countering the effects of testosterone-mediated hypertrophy in prostate glands. • Again, they help minimize the risk of BPH and prostate cancer in men. • Their effects in women, however, are found to be neutral or some beneficial effect on breast, uterine and ovarian receptors.
  15. 15. Types of Phytosterols • They are present in almonds, cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, whole wheat, maize, soybeans, many vegetable oils. • Campesterol - buckwheat. • Beta Sitosterol – avocados, rice bran, wheat germ, corn oils, fennel, peanuts, soybeans, hawthorn, basil, buckwheat. • Gamma sitosterol - buckwheat. • Tocopherols (vitamin E)
  16. 16. Other Sterols in plants • Omega-3, 6,9 fatty acids – dark-green leafy vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts. • Gamma-linolenic acid – evening primrose, borage, blackcurrant.
  17. 17. Terpenoids • Terpenoids, also referred to as isoprenoids, are naturally occurring chemicals found in all types of living things. • Plant terpenoids are known for their aromatic qualities – contributing to the scent of eucalyptus and the pungent flavours of cinnamon, cloves, mint and ginger.
  18. 18. Tri-terpenoids • Saponins – soybeans, beans, other legumes, maize, alfalfa. • Oleanolic acid - American pokeweed, garlic, java apple, cloves. • Ursolic acid - apples, basil, bilberries, cranberries, elder flower, peppermint, lavender, oregano, thyme, prunes. • Betulinic acid - Ber tree, white birch, persimmon family, jambul (Syzygium formosanum), chaga, and many other Syzygium species.
  19. 19. Monoterpenes • Limonene – oils of citrus, cherries, spearmint, dill, garlic, celery, maize, rosemary, ginger, basil. • Perillyl alcohol – citrus oils, caraway, mints.
  20. 20. Carotenoids • Carotenoids are the natural fat-soluble pigments that provide the colors of many red, green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. • They act as powerful antioxidants and are used to make vitamin A. • Some well-known carotenoids are alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin.
  21. 21. • Carotenoids have been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer – specifically, 1. premenopausal breast cancer 2. cervical, 3. prostate, 4. digestive tract and 5. lung cancers. • However, excessive consumption by smokers has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.
  22. 22. Sources • α-Carotene –in carrots, pumpkins, maize, tangerine, orange. • β-Carotene –in dark, leafy greens and red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. • Lycopene – Vietnam Gac, tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon, guava, apricots, carrots, autumn olive. • Phytofluene – star fruit, sweet potato, orange. • Phytoene – sweet potato, orange.
  23. 23. Xanthophylls • These are yellow pigments, also classed as Carotenoids. • Canthaxanthin – paprika. • Cryptoxanthin in – mango, tangerine, orange, papaya, peaches, avocado, pea, grapefruit, kiwi. • Zeaxanthin – wolfberry, spinach, kale, turnip greens, maize, eggs, red pepper, pumpkin, oranges.
  24. 24. • Astaxanthin – microalgae, yeast, krill, shrimp, salmon, lobsters, and some crabs. • Lutein – spinach, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, eggs, red pepper, pumpkin, mango, papaya, oranges, kiwi, peaches, squash, brassicates, prunes, sweet potatoes, honeydew melon, rhubarb, plum, avocado, pear, cilantro. • Rubixanthin – rose hips.
  25. 25. Other health benefits attributed to carotenoids include protection against: • heart disease, • cataracts and macular degeneration, • improvement in blood sugar regulation, and • protection of nerve cells, which may help prevent or reduce the severity of Alzheimer’s disease.
  26. 26. Phenolic acids • Salicylic acid – peppermint, licorice, peanut, wheat. • Vanillin – vanilla beans, cloves. • Gallic acid – tea, mango, strawberries, rhubarb, soy. • Ellagic acid – walnuts, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, guava, grapes. • Tannic acid – nettles, tea, berries.
  27. 27. • Ellagic Acid: Ellagic acid is found in a number of berries and other plant foods, especially: Strawberries, Raspberries and Pomegranates • Ellagic acid may help protect against cancer through several different ways. • It may cause apoptosis of cancer cells. • And it may help the liver neutralize cancer-causing chemicals in our blood.
  28. 28. • Tannic Acid: • Tannic acid can be applied directly to affected areas to treat cold sores and fever blisters, diaper rash and prickly heat, ingrown toenails, • Mouth wash and gargles for sore throat, sore tonsils, spongy or receding gums, and skin-rashes; and to stop bleeding. • Tannic acid is also taken by mouth for chronic diarrhea, dysentery, bloody urine, painful joints, persistent coughs, and cancer.
  29. 29. Phenols • Phenols are organic chemicals characterized by the presence of phenol structural units. Biological role in plants: 1. Release and suppression of growth hormones. 2. UV screens to protect against ionizing radiation and to provide coloration (plant pigments). 3. Deterrence of herbivores. 4. Prevention of microbial infections (phyto-alexins). 5. Signaling molecules in ripening and other growth processes.
  30. 30. Phenolic acids Isoflavones (soy) Flavones (red-pepper) Polyphenols Flavanoids Stilbenes Flavonones (citrus fruits) Flavonols (colorless) Anthocyanins (blue and purple) Flavan-3-ols (tea, red wine, cocoa) Proanthocyanidines (dark fruits) Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants in the body.
  31. 31. • Bioflavonoids have been termed “natural biological response modifiers” because of their ability to adapt and moderate the body’s reaction to microbes – allergens, viruses, and carcinogens. • They have the demonstrated antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer activity. • Bioflavonoids also serve as powerful antioxidants, protecting against oxidative stress and free-radical damage.
  32. 32. Natural monophenols • Apiole – parsley, celery leaf. • Carnosol – rosemary, sage • Carvacrol – oregano, thyme, pepperwort, wild bergamot. • Dillapiole – dill, fennel root. • Rosemarinol – rosemary.
  33. 33. Curcuminoids • The curcuminoids are natural phenols that are responsible for the yellow color of turmeric. • Research has identified curcumin as the agent responsible for most of the biological activity of turmeric. • Curcumin has shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. • It may reduce iron absorption.
  34. 34. • Diagnostic use • Preliminary research has found that curcuminoid binds to amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease. • Because curcumin increases fluorescent activity after it binds to amyloid protein, curcumin is being studied as a possible identifier. • Tests have detected amyloid proteins in human eyes, offering the possibility that simple eye exams could provide early detection of the disease.
  35. 35. Polyphenols/Bioflavanoids • These are red, blue, purple pigments. • They may affect cell-to-cell signaling, receptor sensitivity, inflammatory enzyme activity and gene regulation. • Polyphenol antioxidant’s ability is to scavenge free radicals and up-regulate certain metal chelation reactions. Cocoa is the prime ingredient of chocolate, a source of polyphenols.
  36. 36. Anthocyanins • Present in red wine, many red, purple or blue fruits and vegetables. • Pelargonidin – bilberry, raspberry, strawberry. • Peonidin – bilberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, peach. • Cyanidin – red apple & pear, bilberry, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, peach, plum, hawthorn, loganberry, cocoa. • Delphinidin – bilberry, blueberry, eggplant.
  37. 37. Flavonols • Flavonols such a quercetin has antioxidant properties as well as anti-inflammatory effects. • Quercetin – red and yellow onions, tea, wine, apples, cranberries, buckwheat, beans. • Gingerol – ginger. • Kaempferol – tea, strawberries, gooseberries, cranberries, grapefruit, apples, peas, brassicates (broccoli, kale, cabbage), chives, spinach, leek, tomatoes.
  38. 38. • Myricetin – grapes, red wine, berries, walnuts. • Fisetin – strawberries, cucumbers – prevent Alzheimer’s • Rutin – citrus fruits, berries, peaches, apples, asparagus, parsley, tomatoes, apricots, rhubarb, tea. • Isorhamnetin – red turnip, goldenrod, mustard leaf, ginkgo biloba.
  39. 39. • Quercetin also inhibits the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that’s linked to an increased risk for heart disease) and appears to offer protection against cardiovascular disease. • Preliminary research suggests that quercetin exerts inhibitory effects on various types of cancer, and it may also have antiviral action.
  40. 40. • Quercetin’s best-known use is in the treatment of seasonal allergies because of its antihistamine effects. • Quercetin has been found to improve the quality of men suffering from chronic nonbacterial prostatitis – inflammation of the prostate gland that is often painful.
  41. 41. • Isoflavones are a subclass of bioflavonoids that includes phytoestrogens such as lignans, which may help to prevent the development of some types of breast cancer.
  42. 42. • Isoflavones (phytoestrogens) are: • Daidzein (formononetin) – soy, alfalfa sprouts, red clover, chickpeas, peanuts, kudzu, other legumes. • Genistein (biochanin A) – soy, alfalfa sprouts, red clover, chickpeas, peanuts, other legumes. • Glycitein – soy. • Pterocarpans or Coumestans • Coumestrol – red clover, alfalfa sprouts, soy, peas, brussels sprouts.
  43. 43. Phytoestrogens • Soy foods contains an isoflavone that can behave in the body like the hormone estrogen - phytoestrogen. • They can also block the effects of our natural supply of estrogen. • Some evidence suggests that soy foods may be linked to: • Lower risk of endometrial cancer • Lower risk of bone loss in women
  44. 44. Lignans • Our body converts lignans, another type of phytonutrient, into chemicals with some estrogen-like effects. • Two especially good sources of lignans are: • Flaxseeds • Sesame seeds • However, research supporting a role for lignans in preventing endometrial cancer or osteoporosis is limited.
  45. 45. Flavan-3-ols (flavanols) • Catechins – white tea, green tea, black tea, grapes, wine, apple juice, cocoa, lentils, black-eyed peas. • Types of Catechin: Gallocatechin, Epicatechin, Epigallocatechin, Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea, Epicatechin 3-gallate. • Theaflavin – black tea; • Thearubigins. • Proanthocyanidins.
  46. 46. • Green tea is an especially good source of catechins, powerful antioxidants. • The drink may help prevent certain types of cancer.
  47. 47. Flavanones • Hesperidin – citrus fruits. • Naringenin – citrus fruits. • Silybin – blessed milk thistle. • Eriodictyol • Flavonolignan: Silymarin – artichokes, milk thistle.
  48. 48. • Hesperidin • Found in citrus fruits, this flavonoid works as an antioxidant. • It can reduce inflammation in the body. • It may also help reduce the risk of cancer.
  49. 49. Stilbenoids • Resveratrol – grape skins and seeds, wine, nuts, peanuts, Japanese Knotweed root • Pterostilbene – grapes, blueberries • Piceatannol – grapes • Pinosylvin
  50. 50. • Resveratrol: Resveratrol is found in: 1. Grapes 2. Purple grape juice 3. Red wine • It acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. • Some research suggests that resveratrol might reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. • And it may help extend people's life span.
  51. 51. Glucosinolates/Iso-thiocyanates • Sulfur containing Glucosinolates are found in cruciferous vegetables, including: 1. Brussels sprouts 2. Cabbage 3. Kale 4. Broccoli
  52. 52. • The sulfur compounds give these vegetables their sharp odor and flavor. • The glucosinolates turn into other chemicals during the cooking process and while we digest these foods. • Our bodies metabolize glucosinolates into isothiocyanates. • And exposing cancer cells to benzyl, isothiocyanate kills them by reducing STAT-3 protein, which promotes the survival and rapid reproduction of cancer cells.
  53. 53. • The isothiocyanates in foods like kale, bok choy, collard greens, and watercress halt the growth of breast cancer, inhibit the progression of lung cancer, cut the risk of colon and prostate cancer. • Isothicyanate phytonutrients also prevent toxins from damaging our DNA.
  54. 54. • Organosulfides/ Organosulfur compounds are derivatives of glucosinolates. • Polysulfides (allium compounds) • Allyl methyl trisulfide – garlic, onions, leeks, chives, shallots. • Sulfides • Diallyl disulfide – garlic, onions, leeks, chives, shallots.
  55. 55. Indoles • Indole-3-carbinol – cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, rutabaga, mustard greens, broccoli. • 3,3'-Diindolylmethane or DIM - broccoli family, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale • Allicin and Alliin - garlic • Allyl isothiocyanate - horseradish, mustard, wasabi • Piperine - black pepper • Syn-propanethial-S-oxide - cut onions.
  56. 56. Betalains • Betacyanins • Betanin, isobetanin, probetanin, neobetanin - beets, chard • Betaxanthins (non glycosidic versions) • Indicaxanthin - beets, sicilian prickly pear • Vulgaxanthin - beets
  57. 57. Hydroxycinnamic acids • Caffeic acid – burdock, hawthorn, artichoke, pear, basil, thyme, oregano, apple, olive oil. • Chlorogenic acid – echinacea, strawberries, pineapple, coffee, sunflower, blueberries. • Cinnamic acid – cinnamon, aloe. • Ferulic acid – oats, rice, artichoke, orange, pineapple, apple, peanut. • Coumarin – citrus fruits, maize.
  58. 58. Capsaicin • Capsaicin is an active component of chilli peppers. • The highest concentration of capsaicin can be found in the white pith of the inner wall, where the seeds are attached. • Capsaicin is used as an analgesic in topical ointments, nasal sprays and dermal patches. • It may be applied for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with arthritis, backache, strains and sprains.
  59. 59. • Capsaicin creams are used to treat psoriasis as an effective way to reduce itching and inflammation. • It selectively binds to a protein known as TRPV1 that resides on the membranes of pain and heat-sensing neurons. • Capsaicin may be used to help regulate blood sugar levels by affecting carbohydrate breakdown after a meal. It also increases satiety and reduces energy as well as fat intake.
  60. 60. Wise Food Choices • Experts agree that the phytonutrients in plant based foods may help prevent disease and promote health. • Aim to include a variety of plant based foods such as vegetables and fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes in your meals and snacks every day.
  61. 61. Homework • Make a list of foods you ate today. • Find out some of the phytochemicals these foods contained.
  62. 62. Thank you. Any Questions?

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