food (taste, colour, texture, etc.).
Phytochemicals give hot peppers their burning sensation, onions and garlic their pungent
flavour, and tomatoes their deep red colour.
Scientists have since recognized that some phytochemicals have profound physiological
effects on our body:
May act as antioxidants
May mimic hormones
May alter blood constituents to protect against some disease processes
▪ Ex. Cancer, heart disease
Phytochemicals can be naturally occurring in a food, or added to foods.
Added phytochemicals may produce effects that are vastly different from those seen in whole
These effects can even be harmful.
Before taking, check the research: does it work, is it safe, has the FDA or Health Canada
issued warnings, is it in line with nutrition guidelines (i.e., what food has the phytochemical
been added to, a nutritious food or a dessert food)?
Foods contain thousands of different chemicals, some with beneficial effects, some with no
effect, and some with harmful effects.
These chemicals can exert different effects on different people or when taking different doses, or
at different life stages.
Phytochemicals have the potential to alter body functions, sometimes powerfully, in ways only
In most cases, the beneficial effects that we see from some foods cannot be attributed to one
individual phytochemical, and therefore not a purified supplement form of that phytochemical.
Although we have been consuming foods that contain phytochemicals for tens of thousands of
years, this does not mean that there is sufficient evidence to support that phytochemical
supplements are safe.
Therefore, food, not supplements, is currently the most effective and safest source of c78
Currently, there is insufficient evidence to say for certain whether any phytochemical is
effective at fighting disease, or if it is safe to consume phytochemicals in concentrated
Functional foods are products that may look like or be a conventional food and are consumed
as part of a usual diet, but have physiological benefits or can reduce the risk of
chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions.
Ex. soy-based foods
Regular consumption of foods containing soybean has been shown to reduce the risk of