G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN

Volume 22, number 1, 1/1/04, page 42
An update of a highly popular and quoted chart that I composed in 1995

Plant-derived chemicals, many of which are beneficial to human health and disease prevention, is a rapidly expanding area of nutrition. Around 4000 had been identified and approximately 150 have been studied. As nutritional therapeutics continue to evolve, it is likely that phytochemicals will play an increasing role in nutritional therapeutics. This is an updated version of a chart I did a few years ago.



            FOOD SOURCES


Allyl sulfides

Garlic and onions

Lowers the risk of stomach and colon cancer.  Increases glutathione production.  Limits phase I enzyme production (phase I byproducts are quite reactive).  Retains activity after cooking.

Alpha carotene

Carrots and pumpkins

Antioxidant with powerful anticarcinogenic properties.

Beta cryptoxanthin


Oranges, tangerines, papaya

Carotenoid with antioxidant properties.




Antioxidant properties which in animal studies reduce tumors in the breasts and skin.

Caffeic Acid


Neutralizes free radicals.


Hot peppers

Antioxidant especially good at protecting DNA.  Blocks nitrosamine formation.  Kills Helicobacter pylori (a cause of ulcers). Used topically to promote the release of substance P which results in pain reduction.

Chlorogenic Acid


Tomatoes, bell peppers, pineapple, strawberries

Blocks nitrosamine formation during digestion (nitrosamine is a powerful carcinogen).

Ellagic Acid

Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, nuts

Antioxidant adept at protecting DNA.  It remains active after freezing or cooking.




Caraway seeds

A monoterpene with anticarcinogenic properties



A isoflavone that may reduce hot flashes and osteoporosis.  Also reduces alcohol consumption in dependent animals.  Its synthetic metabolite is ipriflavone.


Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables

Antioxidant which specifically stimulates enzymes in the glutathione family (which are powerful free radical scavengers).

Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)

Green tea

EGCG is a polyphenol which in animal and in vitro studies has shown inhibition of bladder, breast, colon, liver, leukemic, ovarian, pancreatic, skin, and stomach cancers.  It may also reduce cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and LDL oxidation.  It also has antiviral, antimicrobic, and powerful antioxidant effects against multiple species of free radicals.  Increases fat burning in humans beyond what would be expected by the caffeine it contains.  It has also been shown to increase the concentration of chemo-therapeutic drugs in cancer cells and can protect the surrounding healthy tissue.  More human studies are greatly anticipated.



An isoflavone that inhibits angiogenesis, increases endogenous production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione, and catalase.  It has weak estrogenic activity which allows it to bind on sites reserved for estrogens.  This results in a reduction of estrogenic effects.

Indole 3 carbinol (I3C)

Cruciferous vegetables

Modulates estrogen metabolism by increasing the ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone (a cancer protector) to 16-hydroxyesterone (a cancer promoter).



Binds with receptors reserved for estrogen.  Standard isoflavone preparations contain approximately 50 percent genistein, 38 percent diadzin, and 12 percent glycitin.


Citrus fruit

A monoterpene that up-regulates enzymes required to remove carcinogens from inside cell membranes.


Corn, kiwi, zucchini squash, yellow squash, butternut, squash, celery, cucumbers, grapes, peas, egg yolk

A carotenoid that can prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataract formation by acting as an

intraretinal antioxidant.


Tomato products (sauce, paste, catsup), juice, water melon, guava, pink grapefruit

A carotenoid which in vitro was found to be twice as powerful an antioxidant as beta carotene and has been shown to be especially beneficial in reducing prostate, lung, and stomach cancer.  Quite stable and is in a much higher concentration in tomato products.  Its potency is not affected by cooking or freezing.


Broccoli, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, squash, yams, eggplant

Can reduce cholesterol, lowers the risk to breast, skin, liver, pancreatic, lung, and stomach cancers.


Cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables

Antioxidant which stimulates glutathione production and can protect liver cells from alfatoxins.

P-Coumaric Acid

Tomatoes, bell peppers, pineapple, strawberries, citrus

Blocks nitrosamine formation.  May reduce stomach cancer.  Prevents blood clotting.


Celery, parsley, carrots

Has antihypertensive effects.


Parsley, celery, carrots

Breaks down tobacco-generated carcinogens.

Phenethyl  Isothiocyanates (PEIPC)

Cabbage turnips, and other cruciferous vegetables

Antioxidant especially good at protecting DNA.  Reduces estrogen to the nontoxic metabolite estradiol.



May inhibit some types of colon cancer by a mechanism that is not yet fully understood.  Reduces LDL and total cholesterol without affecting HDL or triglycerides.

Proanthocyanidins aka omeric procyanidins (OPC), procyanidolic oligomers (PCO), anthocyanidins


Grape skins, grape seeds, apples, cranberries, blueberries, French maritime pine bark, peanuts, almonds

Inhibited breast, lung, and stomach cancer in vitro.  Also exhibited greater antioxidant protection to brain and liver cells than vitamins C, E, and beta carotene.  Animal studies show promotion of hair growth and inhibited development of atherosclerosis.  Can also strengthen collagen by promoting cross linking and reduced postoperative edema in women following face-lift surgery.


Grapes, red wine, peanuts, and mulberries

A powerful antioxidant that inhibits LDL oxidation.  Also a natural COX-2 inhibitor that can prevent the growth of cancer cells by reducing angiogenesis.  Also induces phase II liver detoxifying enzymes.



Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale     

An isothiocyanate that increases phase II enzyme activity.  It also has powerful antioxidant effects which in animal studies has shown to reduce breast cancer.  It remains active after cooking.


Winter squash, sweet potatoes, yams, apricots, cantaloupe, turnips, greens, spinach, kale, carrots, citrus

Reduces arterial plaque formation and quenches multiple species of free radicals.


Citrus, soy, licorice extract

It has antiulcer and antidental decay activity.


Orange bell peppers, orange juice, corn, honeydew, mango, egg yolks, red bell peppers

A carotenoid with antioxidant properties that has been shown to reduce the incidence of age-related macular degeneration and cataract formation by filtering out phototoxic blue light and UV radiation.  It is the main pigment in the center of the macula.



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