The word “phyto” is a word defining plant material. There is a lot of discussion on the differences between a “phytonutrient” and “phytochemical”. Although these two words are used interchangeably there is active debate on about the differences between them.
“Nutrients” are molecules that stimulate the body’s response for repair or renewal of cells and tissues. These nutrients essentially come from plants like herbs, fruits and vegetables. It is especially important for us to ingest food that is whole and unprocessed so the active food enzymes can do their “work”. My view is that a “chemical” can stimulate cells and tissue whereas a nutrient nourishes and restores.
What is the “work”?
In order to maintain the health of a cell, the basic structure of the body, cells need to be fed good substances like vitamins, minerals and enzymes. On the other side of the process, cells need damage protection and help eliminating the waste each cell makes. Any build up of waste or toxic chemicals will actually damage not only the cell wall but also the material inside the cell. This situation becomes a recipe for cancer, inflammation or altered cell function.
Solutions: Doing what our grandmothers have always said – “Eat your fruits and vegetables” is sage. Whole unprocessed foods contain “phytonutrients” essential for health. A great example of a “phytonutrient” is beta-carotene one of many found the carotenoid family.
Phyotnutrients out number all the other parts of the plant by 10,000 to 1. That speaks volumes of its importance!