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9 Disease-Preventing Plant Nutrients You Need to Know

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3.  Catechins
The full name for these natural plant compounds is catechin poly­phenols. They activate fat-burning genes in abdominal fat cells to assist with weight loss, and belly fat loss in particular. According to research at Tufts University, catechins increase abdominal fat loss by 77 percent and double total weight loss. As if that wasn’t enough reason for most of us to include foods high in catechins like green and black tea and apples in our diet, catechins also improve your body’s ability to use insulin secreted by your pancreas, which prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes involved in plummeting energy levels, cravings, depression, and mood swings.

Scientists have even discovered that epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG for short), a particular type of catechin found in tea, is 200 times more powerful at eliminating free radicals that damage the skin than vitamin E.

Related: 8 Foods that Fight Fat

4.  Flavonoids
This group of phytonutrients is showing huge promise as miracle heal­ing substances. Found in berries, cherries, currants, pomegranates, red and purple grapes, red onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, apple (skin), and walnuts.

Flavonoids interfere with stages of the development of cancer cells, thereby preventing their ability to keep multiplying. Ellagic acid, a particular type of flavonoid, encourages a healthy rate of a natural process in the body called apoptosis, which is the body’s way of ensuring dam­aged cells are killed so they cannot harm the body. A healthy rate of apoptosis essentially ensures cancer cells are killed by the body.  Ellagic acid also helps stimulate the detoxification enzymes in the liver, thereby helping the liver to eliminate environmental toxins, excess hormones, and food toxins, and perform its hundreds of im­portant functions normally.

The flavonoid resveratrol has been getting a tremendous amount of media exposure lately, due to its powerful ability to protect the brain from damage. Dr. Egemen Savaskan and colleagues at the University of Basel in Switzerland discovered resveratrol in grapes. This compound may even help protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease. They found that resveratrol protected brain cells from plaque formation linked to the disease by mopping up free radicals. Grapes are currently the best known source of this potent healing substance. While red wine is a good source of resveratrol, its alcohol content can be damaging to brain cells and the liver.

Another group of flavonoids called proanthocyanins have dem­onstrated the unique capacity to protect both the fatty and non-fatty parts of the brain against damage from some environmental toxins. They appear to work by decreasing free radical activity within and between brain cells. Blueberries have some of the highest concentra­tions of these potent antioxidants.

Related: 10 Cancer-Fighting Foods

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Read more: Health, Allergies, Alternative Therapies, Alzheimer's, Arthritis, Cancer, Cholesterol, Cold and Flu, Diabetes, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, General Health, Mental Wellness, Michelle Schoffro Cook, Natural Remedies, Women's Health, , , , , , ,

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Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 17-time book author and board-certified doctor of natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and her new book The Probiotic Promise. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World's Healthiest News at to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.


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12:16AM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Well rounded article.

3:49AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

Thanks for the info.

4:28AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Good information. While it may be challenging to remember all the substances and their health goals, it is not difficult to make a list of these foods to take with me when shopping and include them heavily in our diet. Thank you.

5:29AM PST on Dec 5, 2010

Amazing to find that all the foods you've loved while growing up are the ones that are best for you :)

7:19AM PST on Dec 4, 2010

Good to know! Thank you! :D

2:49AM PST on Nov 16, 2010

useful info, thanks for sharing :)

7:38AM PDT on Nov 5, 2010


3:21AM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Thanks for this info.

8:11AM PDT on Oct 24, 2010


8:16PM PDT on Oct 21, 2010

All the comments are wonderful! Especially washing in vinegar! I love Care2! Always informative!

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