History of phytochemical
Only a few years ago, the term "phytochemical" was barely known.But doctors, nutritionists, and other health care practitioners havelong advocated a low-fat diet that includes a variety of fruits,vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Historically, cultures thatconsume such a diet have lower rates of certain cancers and heartdisease.Since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and EducationAct (DSHEA) in the United States in 1994, a large number of phytochemicals are being sold as dietary supplements
Evidence of phytochemical
It has become a widely accepted notion that a diet rich in fruits,vegetables, legumes, and grains reduces the risk of cancer, heartdisease, and other illnesses. But only recently have researchersbegun to try to learn the effects of specific phytochemicals containthose foods.Much of the evidence so far has come from observations of cultures whose diets consist mainly of plant sources, and whichseem to have lower rates of certain types of cancer and heartdisease. For instance, the relatively low rates of breast andendometrial cancers in some Asian cultures are credited at least inpart to dietary habits. These cancers are much more common inthe United States, possibly because the typical American diet ishigher in fat and lower in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains.Because of the number of phytochemicals and the complexity of the chemical processes they are involved in, researchers face achallenging task in trying to determine which phytochemicals infoods may fight cancer and other diseases, which may have noeffect, and which may even be harmful.Many studies have looked at the relationship between cancer riskand eating fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Mostof the evidence indicates that eating large proportions of thesefoods seems to lower the risk of some cancers and other illnesses.