Fruits and Vegetables: The Best Source of Phytonutrients

This blog post is informational. If your healthcare provider has prescribed or recommended taking a nutritional supplement, please discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. This post is not 'anti-supplement'. As a registered nurse, I would argue that there are circumstances where supplements may be beneficial. For example, taking Vitamin C tablets to help manage cold symptoms. The focus and point of this post is taking supplements for the purpose of obtaining phytonutrients. So again, if you have any concerns about a supplement you are taking, please discuss any concerns with your provider before abruptly stopping or making any changes. I hope you enjoy and find it informing!


There is growing evidence that nutrients such as phytonutrients are best obtained from food sources. A pill or supplement cannot replicate the health benefits obtained when we consume our nutrients from food sources. Nutrients such as minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamins most likely work in synergy to achieve their full health benefits. This effect cannot be replicated by taking a pill. Swallowing a pill full of dried powder is not equivalent to eating a plate of fruits or vegetables.

Phytonutrient is a name for a wide variety of compounds produced by plants that are found in fruits and vegetables. Phytonutrients come from a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Each phytonutrient has a different effect on and benefit for our bodies. Phytonutrients are not classified as nutrients in the same context as vitamins or minerals. Phytonutrients provide benefits beyond the mere maintenance of normal health. Scientists know that the benefits of phytonutrients extend far beyond their antioxidant status. Many have anti-inflammatory effects. Chronic inflammation is widely accepted as the root of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Some phytonutrients become absorbed into body tissues, where they appear to work to protect health. Phytonutrients also have synergistic effects, which provide greater benefits than the sum of their individual effects. When phytonutrients are isolated from the plant, as in the case of supplements, they often don’t produce the same health benefits that occur when we eat the whole plant, which is rich in hundreds of other phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Scientists believe that phytonutrients might be partially responsible for the excellent health typically seen among people who eat large amounts of plant foods. Phytonutrients are responsible for the vibrant hue of fruits and vegetables, from the deep blue of blueberries to the rich red of tomatoes.

Eating more fruits and vegetables in every shade of the rainbow red, orange, yellow, green blue, and purple is the ideal method to receive a spectrum of phytochemicals that offer a bounty of health benefits. Furthermore, growing a rainbow of fruits and vegetables increases our access, as well as our consumption of fruits and vegetables. When we grow our own fruits and veggies, we consume more fruits and veggies!

The Nurse Farmer ™

The Nurse Farmer