How do phytochemicals work?
There are many phytochemicals and each works differently. These are some possible actions:
Antioxidant – Most phytochemicals have antioxidant activity and protect our cells against oxidative damage and reduce the risk of developing certain varieties of cancer. Phytochemicals with antioxidant pastime: allyl sulfides (onions, leeks, garlic), carotenoids (fruits, carrots), flavonoids (fruits, vegetables), polyphenols (tea, grapes).
Hormonal actions – Isoflavones, found within soy, imitate human estrogens and help to reduce menopausal symptoms and also osteoporosis.
Stimulation of minerals – Indoles, which are found in cabbages, stimulate enzymes that produce the estrogen less effective and may reduce the risk with regard to breast cancer. Other phytochemicals, which hinder enzymes, are protease inhibitors (soy and also beans), terpenes (citrus some fruits and cherries).