phytochemical

Definition / meaning of phytochemical

The term ‘phyto’ originated from a Greek word meaning plant. Phytonutrients are certain organic components of plants, and these components are thought to promote human health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and teas are rich sources of phytonutrients. Unlike the traditional nutrients (protein, fat, vitamins, minerals), phytonutrients are not ‘essential’ for life, so some people prefer the term ‘phytochemical’. (USDA Agricultural Research Service)

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Source(s):

The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/)

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