But what even are phytonutrients?
Phyto is derived from the Ancient Greek word phutón, which means plant. So it’s really ‘plantnutrients’. They’re the compounds in plant foods that give the plant protection from damage by sunlight, chemicals, degeneration, predators and so on and they basically do the same for us when we digest them.
Phytos are really important for helping us ward off disease and for stopping us decaying as fast.
So how can you easily ensure you’re getting plenty of phytonutrients?
Eating a diverse range of colourful vegetables and fruits is the easiest way to ramp up your intake. Lots of people eat the same old veggies and fruits week in week out, (I know quite a few people who will only eat peas, carrots and cauli!) but it’s better to keep changing things up because there are different types of phytonutrients in different plant foods.
Always ask yourself how many different colours of fruit and veggies have I eaten today?
A really easy way to ramp up your phytos is to always bung a salad alongside lunch and dinner. I know I often say that on our Nutrition for Everyone plan but I also know how easy it is to not bother making it. However, it’s a massive win because the salad items aren’t cooked, so they retain nutrients and take up more space in your stomach than cooked veg AND the gut gets the benefit of breaking the fibre down (not saying don’t eat cooked veg, please please do!). It’s a quick way to get those beautiful phytonutrients in that do so much good all around your precious body.
When you’re making salad get as many colours as you can in, add fresh herbs too and use olive oil as part of the dressing. Remember chopping it small can make it easier to eat, rather than shoving a gert big lettuce leaf in yer moosh!
Oh and by the way, very seasonally as I write this, blackberries are a fantastically dense source of phytos, better than blueberries. And they’re free in the bushes!