What are secondary phytochemicals?

Secondary phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and flavonoids are part of our daily diet. They are found in fruit, vegetables, potatoes, legumes, nuts, whole grain products and fermented foods, for example sauerkraut, and give the plant-based foods their color. They are used by plants, among others, as a defense against plant-eating predators or microbial attack and also act as growth regulators. Secondary phytochemicals are not yet considered by humans as essential nutrients, but they do have an influence on a variety of metabolic processes. Thus, various health-promoting effects are attributed to them. They are said to protect against different tumor types and help bring about vascular effects such as blood vessel dilation and lowering of blood pressure. Furthermore, secondary phytochemicals display neurological, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. Due to the current data situation, however, recommendations for the supply of individual secondary phytochemicals cannot be given at present.

For the effect to take place, the intake of different phytochemicals along with food might be necessary. The German Society for Nutrition e.V. (DGE), therefore, recommends a high consumption of fruit and vegetables and other plant-based foods to ensure a good supply with secondary phytochemicals.

Scientists recommend a daily dose of 3000-6000 ORAC as a way to protect the body cells from free radicals. The ORAC method (for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is used in science to evaluate the antioxidant effect of substances or of food.

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