The Power of Phytonutrients
Deccan Chronicle.| Bindu Gopal Rao
Phytonutrients which are natural chemicals or compounds produced by plants are a powerhouse of health and wellness
Phytonutrients can be found in spices, nuts, whole grains, tea, beans, fruits, and vegetables. (Representational Image/ Pexels)
Phytonutrients are known to be natural chemicals or compounds that are produced by plants that keep plants healthy, protect them from insects and the sun. They can be found in spices, nuts, whole grains, tea, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
Phytonutrients contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help in providing support to a healthy human body. There are thousands of phytonutrients found in plants and other related foods. Some of the most common phytonutrients are glucosinolates, resveratrol, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, ellagic acid and carotenoids. Dr Rimmi Verma, Orthopaedic, Sujok Therapist and Diet Consultant at AXIS Hospital, Andheri West, says, "Phytonutrients such as flavonoids can help in reducing inflammation, thereby boosting the health of your heart effectively. It also helps in detoxification. Your body is often exposed to various toxins on a regular basis, and it needs to get rid of it. This process of elimination of toxins from your body is known as detoxification. Phytonutrients such as glucosinolates and flavonoids contain detoxification properties and should be included in the diet."
Sources of Phytonutrients
Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, bok choy, and romaine lettuce are good sources of phytonutrients. Red, orange, and yellow vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, peppers, carrots, mangos, peaches, citrus fruits, and berries also contain phytonutrients. Some of the other sources include nuts and seeds, legumes, tea, coffee and dark chocolate.
Phyto’ is a Greek word. Plants and nutrients produced by plants are called phytonutrients. "Phytonutrients are anything and everything derived from plant-based sources. Phytonutrients can also be called ‘nature’s natural defense.’
When we combine phytonutrients with other nutrition sources it can literally become a nutrition powerhouse for a human body to promote good health," says Saloni, Nutritionist.
Rainbow on Your Plate
Phytonutrients are responsible for the vibrant colors that are found in vegetables and fruits. For example, the phytonutrient lycopene helps in giving tomatoes and watermelon their red color. By enjoying a rainbow of vegetables and fruits daily, you can make the most of many of the phytonutrients that nature has to offer.
Muesli-type oat cereal with dried fruit, nuts and seeds have phytonutrients. "Your lunch meal can include vegetables, whole grains and a spinach salad with mandarin oranges and almond. Apart from this, it can also include vegetarian bean chili with a crusty whole grain roll. In snacks, a tall cold glass of orange, berry, banana smoothie can be preferred," says Verma. Nikhil Chaudhary, Nutritionist adds, "Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals, all of which are strong antioxidants including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid.
Grapes contain phenolic acids, stilbenes, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins. It’s not the wine, it’s the grapes and more specifically the colour and skin of the grapes. Eating more coloured vegetables and foods increase the antioxidant content of the meal and that is why the rainbow meal."
Phytonutrients are a very powerful source of antioxidants which not only improves lifestyle but also heath markers. Various studies have shown that having enough phytonutrients daily can help manage Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and can reduce the risk of heart stroke and cancer.
"Phytonutrients also help you slow down the aging process so you might end up looking younger than what you are if you consume them on a regular basis. They also help you boost your immune system, keep your hormones normal. They also have antifungal and antiviral agents in them which can help keep all the flues at bay," says Saloni. This will not only make your plate look more tempting but also keep you full, keep your gut health healthy and provide you with vital nutrition.
For the quinoa, add water, quinoa and 1 vegetarian seasoning cube in a pressure cooker. Cook till the quinoa is ready. Cool the mixture.
For the dressing, in a bowl mix all the ingredients for the salad dressing well.
In a serving bowl mix the quinoa with the beetroot, broccoli, carrots, oranges, lettuce leaves and refrigerate.
Mix thoroughly the olive oil dressing with the salad just before serving and serve cold.
Beetroot Quinoa Salad by Chef Renu Dalal
Beetroot and quinoa form a delightful and healthful combination, containing phytonutrients that are both beneficial for your body and appetizing.
1. For the quinoa
2. 1 cup quinoa
3. 3 cups water
4. 1 vegetarian seasoning cube
5. To add to the salad
6. ½ cup peeled and sliced beetroots (cooked till tender in a pressure cooker)
7. 1 cup parboiled broccoli florets
8. 1 carrot peeled and cut into long slices (parboiled)
9. 1 tangerine orange (peel, remove the skin and cut into smaller pieces)
10. 1 cup chopped iceberg lettuce leaves (dipped in iced water for 1 minute)
For the dressing
1. 4 tbsp of olive oil
2. Salt and pepper to taste
Chef Renu Dalal (By Arrangement)
Vegetable Pie Recipe by Anupama Menon, Nutritionist & Food Coach
1. ½ Long brinjal
2. 1 cup capsicum (all colours)
3. 1 Zucchini (half green and half yellow)
4. 1 small Potato
5. 1 medium sweet potato
6. 1.5 medium tomatoes
7. 1 White Onions
8. ½ Onion (normal purple one)
9. 2 medium Carrots
10. ½ cup Mushroom (diced well)
11. 20 grams Mozzarella Cheese
Chop the onions, carrots, capsicums, mushrooms, zucchini, and potatoes finely.
Blanch the tomatoes and make a puree.
Take oil in a pan and sauté all the chopped vegetables with garlic and ginger. Sauté for 10 minutes till the vegetables are soft and cooked. Add one cup of vegetable stock. Cover and let it simmer.
After around five minutes, add the blanched tomato puree, salt, pepper, oregano, and chilli flakes to taste. Let the mixture cool.
Use a hand mixer and grind the above into a smooth paste. Put the paste in an oven dish and then decorate the pie with round slices of Brinjal, Potato, Tomato, Yellow Zucchini and Green Zucchini. Alternate arrangement and it should be covered completely as shown in the picture attached below. Garnish with mozzarella cheese and parsley.
Bake it for 1 hour 15 minutes. Serve hot with garlic bread or sourdough bread or hot rice.
Anupama Menon, Nutritionist & Food Coach. (By Arrangement)
Weet Grilled Potato in Lemon Coriander Dressing by Avni Kaul, nutritionist, Wellness Coach & Certified Diabetic Educator
1. 2 Sweet Potatoes (Pre-Boiled)
2. 2 tbsp olive oil
3. Salt to taste
4. ½ tbsp lemon juice
5. ¼ tbsp coriander (finely chopped)
6. ¼ tbsp green chillies (finely chopped)
7. 1 tbsp honey
8. 1/8 tbsp black pepper
9. 2 tbsp water
Spread some olive oil in a grill pan and place sweet potato slices in it.
Sprinkle salt and cook from both the sides until light brown.
Take a bowl and make a dressing with the rest of the ingredients.
Pour the dressing on the slices.
Avni Kaul, nutritionist, Wellness Coach & Certified Diabetic Educator. (By Arrangement)
Protein Salad by nutritionist Saloni
1. Cabbage 1 cup
2. Onion 1 cup
3. Broccoli 1 cup
4. Carrot 1 cup
5. Mushrooms 1 cup
6. Baby corn 1 cup
7. Mixed Sprouts 1 cup
8. Bell Pepper 1 cup
9. Salt and black pepper to taste
10. A dash of ketchup
Sauté all the vegetable, add a dash of tomato ketchup and add pepper and salt.
Boil one serving of mixed sprouts.
Mix and serve.
Nutritionist Saloni. (By Arrangeent)
Violet, Indigo and Blue foods: Blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, beetroot, black rice, purple cauliflower, purple radish, sweet potatoes, kale, grapes, mangosteen, passion fruit, dragon fruit.
Green: Cabbage, Broccoli, Bottle gourd, green apple, bittergourd, peas, green chilly, ash gourd, cucumbers, mint, coriander, kale, celery, brussel sprouts, beans, all green leafy vegetables.
Yellow: Yams, pumpkins, potatoes, lemons, limes, bell peppers, bananas, melons, peas, pineapple, corn, zucchini.
Orange: Orange, carrot, squash, tangerines, apricots, papaya, peach.
Red: Bell Peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, chilly, dragon fruit, pomegranate, plum, onions.