Much has been written about the benefits of including fresh fruit and vegetables in the daily diet. The World Health Organisation, in its 2007 report, repeated that advice. For many years the focus was placed on vitamins and minerals being the source of the health benefits, but more recently scientists have been looking at the actions of other plant chemicals and how they may affect human health. Phyto-power is a simple reference to those ‘other plant chemicals’ and their effects. The derivation of the term comes from phyto, meaning having to do with plants, and power, which has its normal meaning.
The factsheet contains the conclusions of a number of independent research groups on the positive health benefits of fruit and vegetables.
The examples below are just a few of the many thousands of phytoalexins produced by plants, but serve to highlight the potential benefits of including them as part of a healthy diet, and perhaps the drawbacks of not doing so. The ailments that may respond to these compounds include acne, arthritis, bacterial infections, cancer, diabetes, fungal infections, heart disease, inflammation and even memory loss. There are undoubtedly expensive pharmaceutical products that may address any or all of the above. However, if there are dietary compounds that may prevent the onset of illness then surely choosing to eat produce containing those compounds as part of the daily diet is a sensible approach.