Just as certain essential oils are potent energetic tools for PHYTO5 topical products, phytochemicals are essential tools to include in our diet for the special properties they offer in promoting wellness, vitality, and the strength of the immune system.
Unfortunately, phytochemicals (such as carotenoids and flavonoids) have not yet received proper attention and mainstream nutritional wisdom is that phytochemicals are “non-nutritive plant chemicals.” One major website has described these natural chemicals as “non-essential nutrients and not required by the human body for sustaining life.” What is most ironic is that the same website goes on to list what it calls “some of the possible attributes” of phytochemicals to include:
• an abundance of antioxidants
• an ability to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
• an ability to reduce risk of breast cancer
• an action that is preventive of the multiplication of cancer cells
• an anti-bacterial action
• an ability to lessen menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis
For a fuller list of phytochemicals, their properties and the foods they can be found in, visit the American Institute for Cancer Research website here.
This list is partial but it makes the case that many people would benefit from a regular and sufficient intake of these plant and fruit chemicals. We are told that they are part of plants and fruit that a proper diet of five to nine daily servings of vegetable and fruit would provide. The tragedy is that we are not told where the desirable chemicals are located and in most instances they are exactly in the parts we discard such as the white soluble cellulose around the grapefruit or the stems of broccoli and certain leafy vegetables.
Unless we are mindful of what we need and of where we can find it, it is not likely that we will avail ourselves of the energy and nutrients that are necessary to our harmonious functioning. It’s important that we become conscious consumers and do the research. Our lives actually depend on it.
Cooking: Just as it is difficult not to damage the vital qualities of essential oils during the extraction process, the danger exists of eliminating the vital and nutritional qualities of food in the cooking process. For many types of food, cooking improves the taste and that becomes the driving force in our practice of cooking while we lose track of our other objective which is proper and vital nutrition.
In many cases, it is best to eat raw food. In others, we can improve texture and taste by breaking down rough fiber with a high speed blender. Blenders like the Vitamix help us to prepare wonderfully tasty smoothies while blending together and actually pre-digesting many different food elements. In such a manner, we can add pleasant tasting food with other foods we need and which might not be pleasant to the taste.
Low heat cooking is preferred because it does not substantially alter nutrients and, in particular, necessary enzymes. High heat like broiling, barbecuing and deep-fat frying are medically recognized as dangerous. The worst is food cooked in a microwave oven, particularly on high power, because it so deeply modifies the molecular structure of the food and beverages we place in it.
In short, vital nutrition is not only making the right choice of food for our individual type and needs, it is also how we choose to eat it.