Classification of Dietary Phytochemicals

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Researchers in Japan found that phytonutrients in such plant foods as fruits, vegetables, tea leaves, and beans can block the effects of dioxins in vitro.  The only catch was that these phytonutrient effects lasted only a few hours, meaning you may have to keep eating healthy foods, meal after meal.[3]  Other than blocking toxins, phytonutrients have been studied widely for their potential health benefits.

Phytochemicals under research can be classified into major categories, such as carotenoids and polyphenols, which include phenolic acids, flavonoids, and stilbenes/lignans. Flavonoids can be further divided into groups based on their similar chemical structure, such as anthocyanins, flavones, flavanones, and isoflavones, and flavanols. Flavanols further are classified as catechins, epicatechins, and proanthocyanidins.