What is Antioxidant Phytochemicals?
There are numerous types of antioxidants and the main 5 are:
1) Antioxidant vitamins
2) Antioxidant minerals
3) Antioxidant proteins (Amino acids)
4) Antioxidant enzymes (Including Coenzyme, example, CoQ10)
5) Antioxidant phytochemicals (Example, sulforaphane)
The same can be said about Enzymes and Coenzymes, that only those that display antioxidants characteristics are considered Antioxidants Enzymes and Antioxidants Coenzymes.
Examples of these are :
- Coenzyme Q10 (Coenzyme)
- Superoxide Dismutase
- Glutathione Peroxidase
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10, a vitamin-like nutrient, is naturally produced in the body and is a key element in energy production and antioxidant protection. Yet, most people have insufficient amounts of CoQ10.
The production of this substance decrease naturally as we grow older, and its reduction has been linked to the development of various age-related diseases and conditions.
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring chemicals in plants that gives them their colors, smells, etc. These naturally occurring chemicals act as protective chemicals to the plants/their cells – protecting them from insects and the environment.
When we consume the Phytonutrients, we ingest the same protective chemicals in our body and get the same beneficial protection for our cells.
1) Antioxidants enzymes are natural or synthetic chemical constituents that protect human cells from the harmful effects of free radicals.
2) Phytochemicals are natural chemical constituents derived from plants that provide various health benefits for humans.
3) The key difference between antioxidants and phytochemicals is that the main function of antioxidants is to prevent damage to cells from highly reactive and unstable free radicals
4) Whereas phytochemicals have various functions:
a. Antioxidant – Some phytochemicals have antioxidant activity and protect cells from oxidative damage thereby reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
b. Act as hormones – Isoflavones and lignans, found in soy, mimic human estrogens thereby help to decrease menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis. They are also known as phytoestrogens.
c. Cancer preventing compounds – Some phytochemicals found in foods may have cancer-fighting properties.
d. Stimulation of enzymes – Indoles stimulates enzymes that make the estrogen less effective and could decrease the risk of breast cancer.
e. Interference with DNA replication – Saponins found in beans inhibit with the reproduction of cell DNA, thereby preventing the proliferation of cancer cells. Capsaicin, found in peppers, protects DNA from harmful carcinogens.
f. Anti-bacterial effect – The phytochemical allicin from garlic, as well as chemical compounds originating from spices, have antibacterial
g. Physical protective action – Some phytochemicals bind physically to cell walls thereby inhibiting the adhesion of pathogens to human cell walls. As an example, proanthocyanidins are responsible for the anti-adhesion properties of berry.
h. Reduce the bioavailability of nutrients – Goitrogens found in cabbage inhibit iodine absorption and oxalic acid and phytic acid found in legumes inhibit iron, calcium absorption. They are also known as anti-nutritional chemical compounds.
What is the difference between Antioxidants and Phytochemicals?
Definition of Antioxidants and Phytochemicals
Antioxidants: Antioxidants are Chemical compounds that can combat oxidation.
Phytochemicals: Phyto means “plant” in Greek. Thus, phytochemicals are chemical combinations that occur naturally in plant species.
Characteristics of Antioxidants and Phytochemicals
Antioxidants: Antioxidants can be obtained from both plant and animal foods.
Phytochemicals: phytochemicals are only originated in plant sources such as vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants help prevent damage to cells from highly reactive and unstable free radicals.
Phytochemicals: Phytochemicals have multiple functions.
Both play a crucial rule in the body metabolism, protecting cells from unstable and potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals. Phytochemicals have antioxidant capabilities, but some have additional powers as well. Examples include the ability to produce enzymes that limit the ability of carcinogens to damage a cell’s DNA, fighting inflammation, and limiting the development of blood vessels that house tumours.