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From "Beyond Vitamin": Newsweek, April 25, 1994


"A few years ago, scientists didn't know phytochemicals existed. But today they are the new frontier in health research."

"Having shown that Mom was right about chicken soup curing colds, and cranberry juice helping bladder infections, scientists are catching up on an even more important front: by 'balanced diet,' she certainly did not mean one vitamin from the white pile, and one from the red, and one from the yellow. It is whole foods - especially fruits and vegetables - that pack the desease-preventing wallop. That's because they harbor a whole ratatouille of compounds that have never seen the inside of a vitamin bottle for the simple reason that scientist have not, until very recently, even known they existed, let alone brewed them into pills.

"The compounds are called 'phytochemicals' ('phyto' is derived from the Greek word for plant). Every slice of tomato and every bite of apricot contains thousands of them, chemical tongue twisters that evolved because they protect plants from sunlight but which, through a beneficent quirk of nature, turn out to affect people. In the world where science merges with health, phytochemicals are the next big thing. The National Cancer Institute is so excited it has launched a multimillion dollar project to find, isolate and study them. Private Firms are eyeing them as a health blockbuster....Amid all the debate, phytochemicals offer the next hope for a magic pill, one that would go beyond vitamins.

"If there is a take-home message in all this, it is the old saw about eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. 'That's what your mother told you, but you never believed there was good scientific research supporting it,' says epidemiologist Gladys Block of the University of California, Berkley. 'Now there is."


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