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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Phytonutrients Role in Metabolism:effects on Resistance to Degenerative Processes

Author
item Beecher, Gary

Submitted to: Food, Phytonutrients, and Health Forum and Workshops
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 1999
Publication Date: September 1, 1999
Citation: Beecher, G.R. 1999. Phytonutrients role in metabolism:effects on resistance to degenerative processes. Food, Phytonutrients, and Health Forum and Workshops. 11:S3-S6.

Interpretive Summary: Several traditional nutrients and dietary fiber have been associated with both increased and decreased risk of chronic diseases. However, there are many minor components in foods, particularly plant-derived foods, that elicit biological responses in mammalian systems that are consistent with reduced risk of one or more chronic diseases. These phytonutrients have been categorized into ten classes of compounds or biological activities. The classes include carotenoids, phytoestrogens, phytosterols, polyphenols, saponins and several others. Typical biological activities range from antioxidant activity to alteration of several metabolisms including estrogen, cholesterol, and detoxifying enzymes. Representative compounds and foods are tabulated for each phytonutrient class. A brief discussion of each category is presented along with several structure-activity relationships. This is the first summary of various phytonutrient classes and their role in reduced risk of several chronic diseases and degenerative processes.

Technical Abstract: Several 'traditional' nutrients and dietary fiber have been associated with both increased and decreased risk of chronic diseases. However, there are many minor components in foods, particularly plant-derived foods, that elicit biological responses in mammalian systems that are consistent with reduced risk of one or more chronic diseases (phytonutrients). These phytonutrients have been categorized into ten classes of compounds or biological activities. Representative compounds, typical biological activities and common food sources are tabulated for each phytonutrient class. A brief discussion of each category is presented along with several structure-activity relationships.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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