The term “phyto” originated from the Greek word meaning “plant”. Phytonutrients are certain specific, organic components found in plants provide health benefits. Phytonutrients are gaining importance globally due to their potential health benefits. Demand for these nutrients from fortified foods and dietary supplements industries is rising. Vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains and fruits are rich sources of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are nutrients found in plants that get developed to protect the plants from damaging environments. Plants are exposed to excess ultraviolet rays, predator pests, toxins, and pollutants. This exposure results in generation of hazardous free radicals within plant cells. These free radicals can then bind to and damage proteins, cell membranes, and DNAs of the plant. Phytonutrients get developed simultaneously to shield the plant from this damage as well as provide them with color, flavor, and smell. Fruits and vegetables are concentrated sources of phytonutrients. Other plant foods such as whole grains, legumes/beans, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices also contain phytonutrients.
The beneficial effects of phytonutrients will not be seen immediately, but over months or years. Phytonutrients and other healthy compounds like vitamins and minerals can only prevent or delay developing diseases. Phytonutrients are plant compounds such as carotenoids, lycopene, resveratrol, and phytosterols have health-protecting properties. They are found in plants (fruits and vegetables) or things made from plants such as tofu or tea. Phytochemicals are best taken in by eating the foods that contain them rather than supplements or pills.
Consumption of a diet filled with a variety of vegetables can boost the effectiveness of phytonutrients, as different plants and vegetables contain different phytonutrients. When combined, they have a more positive effect on human bodies. Health benefits from consumption of phytonutrients include reduction in blood pressure and increase in vessel dilation, improved vision, decreased inflammation, decreased LDL (low density lipids) cholesterol, and prevention of cellular damage. Growing interest in health benefits and increasing end-use applications are key driving factors for the global phytonutrients market. Phytonutrients such as carotenoids protect the body against the risk of heart disease, stroke, blindness, and certain types of cancer. They may also help slow the aging process, reduce difficulties associated with diabetes, and improve lung utility.
The supplements are readily available and contain multiple phytonutrients. Rising demand for functional food coupled with growing awareness about health may support the growth of the phytonutrients market. Increase in health concerns among consumers owing to change in food habits may fuel the phytonutrients market in the food & beverages application. Growth of the phytonutrients market is due to increasing attention of consumers toward superior-quality foodstuffs, which is balanced in terms of nutrients.
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