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Phytonutrients or plant foods contain multiple bioactive compounds known as phytochemicals. These exhibit specific biological activities and aid in prevention and treatment of diseases.
Phytonutrients comprise primary metabolites – proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, andphytochemicals or secondary metabolites – phenolics, alkaloids, organosulfides and terpenes. Their numerous health benefits include anticancer, antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and immune response.
Among phytonutrients, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, graviola and oregano are the most studied, all of which demonstrate multiple health benefits and can be used as adjuncts to other pharmacological modalities. Nevertheless, a medical evaluation is warranted before prescribing phytonutrients and phytochemicals. Most of these popular phytonutrients have shown great potential as preventives and therapeutics on many diseases in vitro, in vivo and clinical trials. Additional well-designed studies are necessary to illustrate their physiological activities and underlying mechanisms in the human body.
Sources: Appl Sci. 2021;11(18):8477.