What Are Phytochemicals, and What Is Their Importance?

Apart from plants being the only organisms that can convert sun energy into food, these remarkable organisms produce natural compounds called phytochemicals.

Phytochemicals are naturally occurring compounds in plants, in most cases as a defense against diseases, grazing animals, insects, and other infections. These compounds are also responsible for the different colors, flavors, and aromas in different plants. Over the years, scientists have discovered great use of plants with different phytochemicals for different purposes. For example, Cruciform vegetables like head cabbage have a high phytochemical content which could reduce the risk of degenerative diseases. For a phytochemical reference substance: https://www.extrasynthese.com/

Also, because of customer concerns about the use of synthetic substances in skin products, phytochemicals are increasingly being used in these products. Research has shown plant extracts used in skincare have antioxidant and antibacterial properties, as well as a tyrosinase inhibitory effect. An example of a plant that is used for bioactive extracts in cosmetics is Achillea spp. Achillea spp has a broad range of applications and a long history of use in traditional medicine. See all botanical reference materials: https://www.extrasynthese.com/824-botanical-reference-materials

The Phytochemicals

On estimate, there have been over 5,000 identified phytochemicals and over 400,000 edible plants. 400,0000? And a large percentage is still undiscovered. Modern man only eats about 200 species, with wheat, rice, and corn, taking more than half of the entire percentage. However, given that oxidative stress brought on by free radicals plays a role in the genesis of a wide range of chronic illnesses, there is growing evidence that the advantages of phytochemicals found in fruit and vegetables may be higher than what we believe. Therefore, it is crucial to identify different phytochemicals to prevent chronic diseases.

Types of Phytochemicals

There are many phytochemicals including flavonoids, carotenoids, chlorophyll, Anthocyanins, Lutein, zeaxanthin, and isothiocyanates.


Carotenoids such as Lycopene and β-carotene are present in fruits and vegetables with red, yellow, and orange colors. Some of these vegetables are tomatoes, carrots, oranges, pumpkin, watermelon, and tangerines. Carotenoids are widely known for their antioxidant properties and protective effects against certain cancers, like prostate. Beta-carotene, present in carrots, fruits and vegetables, may be transformed into retinol, which is beneficial for your eyes.


Flavonoids are phenolic compounds with antioxidant activity that have been shown to serve as antioxidants, improve vitamin C effects, and reinforce cell tissues. They have also been said to reduce DNA damage and tumor growth. Some plants and vegetables that contain flavonoids include coffee, tea, berries, walnuts, and whole grains.


The green coloring in plants and vegetables is a result of chlorophyll. This phytochemical has been found to speed up the wound healing process. It is also anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Plants that are green both on the surface and inside are rich in chlorophyll. Some examples are spinach, kale, parsley, and broccoli.


Isothiocyanate is a type of phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, radish, and mustard. Isothiocyanates are rich in glucosinolate, the precursor to isothiocyanates, and are best eaten raw or steamed. Also, avoid using water as glucosinolate is leeched into water.

As you have seen, phytochemicals have countless benefits for both plants and humans. Ranging from plant defense against insects and animals to antioxidant properties and protective effects against certain cancers in humans. Although it is not conclusive that they can cure cancer, eating the rainbow will benefit different aspects of your health. Check https://www.extrasynthese.com for a phytochemical reference substance or any other all botanical reference materials.