Functional Foods/Phytochemicals

By: Dylan Osterhaus

Functional Foods

Functional foods are foods that provide a positive affect on health beyond their basic nutritional value.


Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants, these chemicals can have a positive affect on a persons health, most are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains.

Phytochemical Health Benefits

Phytochemicals are best known for their affect on health. They are found responsible in aiding the prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The biggest affect the phytochemicals have are their ability to prevent cancer, scientists have found that people who eat a diet high in phytochemicals have a significantly lower chance of having cancer.

Types of Phytochemicals

There are five types of phytochemicals that we discussed in class, Lycopene, Lutein, Anthocyannes, Allicin, and Indoles. Lycopene is found in red foods such as tomatos, cherries, and strawberries, lycopene protects against cancer. Lutein is found in yellow and orange foods like oranges, sweet potatoes, and peaches, lutein helps to protect vision. Anthosyannes are found in foods that are primarily red, blue, and purple, such as grapes and cherries, anthocyannes help to prevent cancer and heart disease. Allicin is found in white, tan, and brown foods such as garlic and onions, allicin protects against cancer adn heart disease. Indoles are found in green goods such as cabbage, broccoli, and avocados, indoles help to prevent cancer.

Fruit Smoothie

1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced
2 cups frozen strawberries, raspberries, or cherries
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 to 3 tablespoons honey or to taste
Put all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

Cooks note: For non-dairy smoothies, substitute 1 cup rice milk for the milk and yogurt. Or, use soy yogurt or milk instead of dairy

Link is below

Italian Leafy Green Salad

Original recipe makes 6 - 1 cup servingsChange Servings

  • 2 cups romaine lettuce - torn, washed and dried

  • 1 cup torn escarole

  • 1 cup torn radicchio

  • 1 cup torn red leaf lettuce

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into rings

  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced in rings

  • 12 cherry tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the romaine, escarole, radicchio, red-leaf, scallions, red pepper, green pepper and cherry tomatoes.
  2. Whisk together the grapeseed oil, basil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pour over salad, toss and serve immediately