Phytonutrients 101: What they Are and Why We Need Them
Managing menopause symptoms can be confusing. With a wealth of information and a seemingly endless supply of products on the market, it can be tough to figure out what your body needs to make it through “the change” gracefully.
Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone. But don’t worry, we’re here to help clear things up.
Whether you’re suffering from night sweats, heavy flow, lethargy, weight gain, or other annoying symptoms of peri/menopause, there’s hope, and it comes in the form of natural ingredients called phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients are natural chemicals that help to boost our immune system and ward off diseases, among other benefits. If you're suffering from peri/menopausal symptoms and want to look younger, feel more energetic, or reduce hot flashes, phytonutrients, also known as phytos, may be the answer.
What are Phytonutrients?
Phytonutrient is a fancy word used to describe the thousands of nutrient-rich chemicals found in fruits and veggies. These important compounds act as antioxidants in the human body. That means they’re able to help ward off diseases like cancer.
As a general rule, the more colorful the fruit or veggie you eat, the richer it is in phytos. Other foods such as tea leaves, whole grains, legumes, and nuts contain phytonutrients as well. Tomatoes, for instance, contain lycopene, a phytonutrient that has been proven to fight diseases, especially when it’s cooked.
Phytos can also boost our immune system, increase energy, and help keep those pesky peri/menopause symptoms under control. Time and again, they have been proven to be so successful at evening out our microbiomes that companies across the globe have added them to everything from creams to smoothies to supplements.
We aren’t the only ones who respect the importance of phytos. But we certainly know the best recipe to get the most benefits.
How do Phytos Work?
Phytonutrients act like a plant’s defensive line; they work together to help stop threats (like bugs, fungi, bacteria, and harmful UV rays) from wreaking havoc on the plant.
When it comes to humans, certain types of phytonutrients can help peri/menopausal and postmenopausal women to avoid, or at least reduce, menopause-related symptoms such as weight gain, bone loss, decreased energy, and hot flashes. They can also help balance our microbiome and hormones.
According to a recent review study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Research, supplementing your diet with phytochemicals can help reduce inflammation and modulate immune function, helping to decrease your risk of serious illnesses.
Promising early research on mice has also suggested that certain phytos can possibly reduce weight gain, decrease the risk of obesity, and lower menopause-related bone loss.
Do We Need Phytos in Our Diet?
The short answer to this question is no — but don’t take that at face value. Fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential to our well-being. We need to consume these to reap benefits such as better bone health, good gut motility, and a strong immune system. Without the proper amount of these nutrients, we wouldn’t survive.
While we don’t need phytonutrients to survive in the same way, they certainly come with a lot of benefits, such as disease prevention, as we mentioned earlier. Phytos also have other, more outwardly noticeable benefits, like reducing wrinkles and hydrating skin. Yes, please!