Phytochemicals can be defined, in the strictest sense, as chemicals produced by plants. However, the term is generally used to describe chemicals from plants that may affect health, but are not essential nutrients. While there is ample evidence to support the health benefits of diets rich in fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts, evidence that these effects are due to specific nutrients or phytochemicals is limited. Because plant-based foods are complex mixtures of bioactive compounds, information on the potential health effects of individual phytochemicals is linked to information on the health effects of foods that contain those phytochemicals.
Select a phytochemical from the list for more information.
The information on dietary phytochemicals from the Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center is now available in a book titled, An Evidence-based Approach to Phytochemicals and Other Dietary Factors. The book can be purchased from the Linus Pauling Institute or Thieme Medical Publishers.