Bowl of a variety of vegetables and plants like avocados, herbs, basil, cilantro, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, spinach

Plant Compounds

Ever heard of....

Phytonutrients, polyphenols, or antioxidants and have no idea what they are, what they do, why they matter??


Phytochemicals are chemicals that are naturally occurring in a variety of plants and spices. The chemicals are produced by the plant in order to protect themselves. Phytochemicals have antioxidant properties that are important in disease prevention. As such, they inhibit cell proliferation which is associated with cancer and they also increase blood flow throughout the body. Along with phytochemicals, polyphenols have an array of antioxidant properties. They combat oxidative stress and inflammation. Polyphenols can also improve/treat digestive issues, diabetes, neurogenerative disease, and cardiovascular disease.


Polyphenols are compounds that are commonly found in plants and modulate a variety of enzymes and cell receptors. In plants, they protect the plant from ultraviolet radiation and pathogens. Polyphenols have antioxidant properties that have a role in disease prevention in humans. They are shown to help increase the good bacteria within the gut which in turn aids in digestion and absorption. They are metabolized by hepatic and intestinal enzymes along with bacteria that are found in the gut microbiome.

What is the difference?

Phytonutrients refer to the chemical compound that is present in plants and polyphenols refer to a specific class within phytonutrients!

Foods rich in Phytonutrients and Polyphenols

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Legumes
  • Onions
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Turmeric
  • Red Wine

 Source: Newell C, Bomhof MR, Reimer RA, Hittel DS, Rho JM, Shearer J. Ketogenic diet modifies the gut microbiota in a murine model of autism spectrum disorder. Claudine Monach, Augustin Scalbert, Christine Morand, Christian Rémésy, Liliana Jiménez; Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 79. Issue 5, 1 May 2004. Pages 727-747,

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