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Perks of a Plant-Based Diet: 12 Powerful Nutrients That Slay Disease

Here’s a guide to the most important and well-studied phytochemicals found in vegetables and fruits, and their potential amazing health benefits.

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Allium compounds

May help prevent: cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol

Found in: garlic, leeks, onions, spring onions (scallions)

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Anthocyanins

May help prevent: heart disease, memory loss, urinary tract infections

Found in: blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, plums, pomegranates, strawberries, red cabbage

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Beta-carotene

May help prevent: cancer, DNA damage, night blindness, skin disorders, infections

Found in: apricots, kiwi fruit, mangoes, papaya, cantaloupe, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, English spinach, kale, pumpkin, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes

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Ellagic acid

May help prevent: Cancer, DNA damage, immune dysfunction, high cholesterol, high blood pressure

Found in: blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, currants, kiwi fruit, raspberries, red grapes, strawberries

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Hesperidin

May help prevent: heart disease, high blood pressure

Found in: grapefruits, limes, mandarins, oranges

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Indoles

May help prevent: cancer, DNA damage

Found in: beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Swiss chard, turnips, watercress

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Limonene

May help prevent: cancer, heartburn

Found in: grapefruits, limes, mandarins, oranges

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Lutein

May help prevent: cancer, cataracts, heart disease, high blood pressure, macular degeneration

Found in: broccoli, brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce, English spinach, beet, kale, Swiss chard

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Lycopene

May help prevent: cancer, DNA damage, heart disease

Found in: pink or red grapefruit, watermelon, bell peppers, tomatoes

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Quercetins

May help prevent: cancer, lung damage, asthma symptoms, arthritis pain

Found in: apples, cherries, pears, red grapes, broccoli, garlic, kale, leaf lettuce, red onions

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Sulforaphane

May help prevent: cancer, complications from diabetes, infections

Found in: Bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Swiss chard, turnips, watercress

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Zeaxanthin

May help prevent: cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, macular degeneration

Found in: corn, English spinach, pumpkin

Originally Published in Reader's Digest