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Prevent Disease with Phytonutrient Power

Prevent Disease with Phytonutrient Power

Most people know that we need adequate amounts of oxygen, water, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and good carbs for great health. What they don’t realize is that a group of micronutrients, also called phytonutrients, can help prevent disease and restore health and vitality. Phytonutrient- and enzyme-rich foods (I’ll discuss enzymes in more detail in my next article) are essential to vibrant health and well-being, yet they are almost completely ignored by other diet plans.

There are about 2000 known phytonutrients and many others are being discovered all the time. And, you guessed it, they’re found in fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, sprouts, and seeds. A single fruit or vegetable may contain more than 100 types of healing phyto­nutrients that basically make up the immune system of the plant. Once eaten, they impart their incredible healing abilities inside your body. The thousands of phytonutrients are categorized into families, including carotenoids, catechins, flavonoids, lipoic acid, phytoestrogens, polyphenols, sulfurophane, and others. Let’s explore the phytonutrient families and find out how you can include more of them in your diet.

And, don’t worry: It’s not necessary to memorize all the names of the phytonutrients or the foods in which they’re found to participate in The Life Force Diet. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be teaching you simple ways to get more phytonutrients in your diet. But for now, let me tell you about some of the main groups of phytonutrients to help you understand why you’d want to eat a diet that’s supercharged with them.

These natural, health-boosting substances give certain fruits their purple to reddish colour. Not only does research show that anthocy­anins have the capacity to boost short-term memory by 100 percent in just eight weeks, they also stimulate the burning of stored fat in the body to be used as fuel.

Up your intake: Anthocyanins are found in dark purple or red grapes, cherries, and berries, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Not only do Cartenoids help strengthen your eyesight and boost your immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that, in some studies, reduced the risk of cancer and protected against the effects of aging.

Up your intake: Carotenoids are the yellow, orange, and red pigments found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, papaya, peaches, and other similarly colored foods as well as dark green veg­etables like broccoli and leafy greens.

Want to lose weight? Be sure to add catechins to your diet since 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.

Up your intake: Catechins are mainly found in green and black tea, as well as apples.

Flavonoids are the miracle nutrients we keep hearing about in the media lately; they interfere with the stages of the development of cancer cells. Resveratrol, a particular flavonoid found predominantly in grapes, has demonstrated its ability to protect the brain from damage.

Up your intake: Flavonoids are found in berries, cherries, currants, pomegranates, red and purple grapes, red onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, apple (skin), and walnuts.

Now you can understand why phytonutrients play such a critical role in your diet. In the coming weeks, you’ll learn more about the disease-preventing and even reversing powers of phytonutrients and how to get more of them in your diet.

Just joining the series? Click here to start the Life Force Diet from the beginning. Ready to get started on The Life Force Diet? Post your health intent and find community support and content to help you achieve it!

Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, DAc, CNC, is a six-time and best-selling book author whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, and The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan. She is a doctor of natural medicine, holistic nutritionist, and holistic life coach. Visit to learn more. provides content and community for who you aspire to be–personally, socially and globally.

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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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11:31AM PDT on Jul 15, 2010

I have been drinking black and green tea several times a day for a month, and noticed my energy has increased, am slowly losing my belly fat, and am able to concentrate and focus better.

1:29AM PST on Feb 7, 2010 wonder I have been feeling a lot better since beginning to pay attention to my eating habits and increasing fruit and vegetable intake.

12:07AM PDT on Jun 15, 2009


8:50AM PDT on Mar 10, 2009

Juicing is a great way to increase the levels of phytonutrients and enzymes in your diet. However, make sure you're eating a diet high in fiber too, since most of the fiber is extracted during the juicing process. There are some excellent juice recipes in The Life Force Diet (as well as recipes for many other delicious foods).

11:44PM PST on Mar 7, 2009

What about juicing? do you ned to eat the whole fruit for phytonutients and enzyme benefits?

10:04AM PST on Mar 5, 2009

There are hundreds of scientific studies on the health benefits of phytonutrients, which are found in fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, beans, nuts, and seeds. I included information on some of the most exciting studies in my book, The Life Force Diet.

6:37PM PST on Mar 4, 2009

I have been eating healthy meals, sometimes raw, and no meat or chicken or fish, for more than twelve years, and I have a lot of energy, and lately, I had a general checkup by a medical doctor, who even had heart test done, and I was told that everything is good, just keep using my builders. I strongly go for Vegans. I also enjoy my meals. I am 69 years of age. I give God praise and thanks, and I thank the Lord for Care2 friends. I do not know to use the site as I am still a learner to the computer. I appreciate the good work Care2 is doing. I will continue to pray for the friends here, including the staff members. Abigail

2:35PM PST on Mar 4, 2009

I don't get sick and i just eat a balanced diet without meat. Too much is made of special diets and so called 'phytonutrients'- which have no basis is fact - and I'm sorry but people will always get sick and this is not due to their diet unless you are severely undernourished as in 3rd world countries, anorexic, or eating at McD's.

1:31PM PST on Mar 4, 2009

Please note that never once is an animal product mentioned in the article. That's because there is NOTHING in or on an animal that was meant for human consumption - and NO, you don't 'need your protein'. You need amino acids so you can create your own protein. Bottom line - you want to be healthy? Be VEGAN - better yet - be RAW VEGAN. Skip the saturated fat, high animal protein (i.e. carcinogen), hormone(natural and otherwise)-loaded and pesticide-laden slaughterhouse products that we've told are food. Eat plants.

11:38AM PST on Mar 4, 2009

Cooking kills almost anything of nutritional value, including most enzymes...pasteurization is cooking, so, drinking pasteurized milk is virtually pointless.
Raw pineapple is a great source of enzymes as is raw milk. Enzyme supplements are available commercially and should be part of an individual's dietary supplement especially if their gall bladder was removed and/or if their diet primarily consists of cooked foods.

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