Phytochemicals refer to a very broad class of substances derived from plants that have a beneficial effect on health. Many new studies have indicated consumption of phytochemicals through eating whole plant foods is a major factor to prevent many chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Current study on phytochemicals is focused on the following groups:
Carotenoids. This group includes b-carotene, canthaxanthin, lutein, lycopene, phytoene, zeaxanthin, and other compounds.
Indoles. This group includes indo-3-carbinol and other compounds.
Isothiocyanates. This group includes phenethylisocyanate, sulforaphanes, and other compounds.
Organosulfur compounds. This group includes diallyl sulfide and other compounds.
Phenols. This group includes anthocyanosides, curcurmin, hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, syringic acid, tocotrienols, as well as the well-known flavonoids sub-group which includes apigenin, ellagic acid, galangin, hesperetin, kaempferol, luteolin, myricetin, nobiletin, quercetin, silymarin, tangeretin, thearubigins, theoflavins, etc.
Phytohormpnes. This group contains several subgroups
Isoflavones, including biochanin, coumestrol, daidzein, equol, genistein
Lignans, including enterodiol and enterolactone
Others such as resveratrol
Protease inhibitors. This group includes compounds such as Bowman-Birk inhibitor.
Saponins. This group includes a variety of compounds.
Terpenes. This group includes compounds such as carvones, eugenol, isoeugenol, limonene, perillyl alcohol, picrocrocin, and safranal.