Fill up on phytochemicals

Eating a varied diet of colorful plant foods may have benefits that go beyond the power of vitamins and minerals.


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Whenever you bite into a juicy red apple or crunch a mouthful of dark, leafy greens, you consume more than just vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You also get a power-packed bite of plant substances called phytochemicals. They're not known to be essential for health, like vitamins and minerals, but they may go a long way toward keeping us healthy.

"We're still just learning about them. The science is ongoing. But they may help fight cancer and heart disease," says Debbie Krivitsky, director of clinical nutrition at the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

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