The “Avengers” of the Plant World, at Your Service

Plants are superheros too. Okay, we know, they aren’t technically; but they do some of the same things.

Humans have built-in immune systems to protect us from the threat of diseases, injuries, and attacks–and plants do too! In plants phytochemicals are the compounds used to defend against too much sunlight, attacks from insects etc. When we eat plants, these chemicals work with our bodies to protect our health against the perils of daily life. Here is the coalition of the most powerful disease-fighting “heroes” in the plant world:

Red Grapes (Iron Man)– resveratrol is responsible for the color in the skins of grapes. Research at Princeton University has become more widespread in the past few years, resulting in many discoveries about the resourcefulness of this chemical in defense. It deters the formation of plaque that blocks arteries, and there is evidence it discourages the storage of fat in the most damaging location–around the organs. Other sources include the deep purple-red skins of pistachios and peanuts, and pomegranates. Berries such as blueberries, and raspberries provide low levels as well. To keep trim, and keep arteries clear, eat red grapes–of the organic variety only.

Cruciferous Vegetables (the Asgardians of the plant world)– fight carcinogens like Thor fights ice-giants.  They have powerful phytochemicals including indoles that fight breast cancer promoters, sulforaphane that forges enzyme-tools which fight carcinogens, and isothiocyanates that prevent tumor formation. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are the companions of celery that provide the same benefits. Protect your health with these powerful allies.

Flaxseed (the Black Widow)– recruits nearly cancerous cells to work for good with the help of the antioxidant lignans. Flaxseed also contains aloha-linolenic acid, which is the plant world’s version of omega-3 fatty acid found in fish. It is a powerful means to fight high cholesterol and chronic inflammation–especially for vegetarians or those less enthusiastic about incorporating fish regularly into their diet. Keep those LDLs down.

Celery (the Hulk)– has butylphthalides which lower blood pressure in lab animals (–so you can control your anger)! Close cousins of celery–namely parsley, fennel, parsnips, and carrots– provide the same benefit. Keep destructive high levels of stress at bay.

Tomatoes (Hawkeye)–lycopene both provides vibrant color and shoots down the out-of-control growth of cells into tumors with expert aim. Tomatoes have been linked to decreased risk of colon, prostate, bladder, and pancreatic cancer. Men, increase your endurance with a healthy amount of tomatoes regularly.

Hot Peppers (Human Torch)–capsaicin, is responsible for the fiery burn of spicy peppers. It also burns away stomach-ulcer-causing bacteria, and neutralizes nitrosamines (chemicals that combine with fatty animal meats to cause cancer). Torch away bacteria with fiery foods.

Garlic (Mister Incredible)–allicin is incredibly versatile. It promotes a healthy immune system and slows cancer growth;  it reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers high blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol. One can find it in vegetables with a similar flavoring quality: onions, chives  scallions, shallots, and leeks. Stretch your garlic usage over many foods and reap the incredible benefits.

Sweet Potatoes (Captain America)– carotenoids quickly act to prevent cataracts and protect against free radical damage. They can be found in most plants that provide a vibrant color, including tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and others. The next time you go see your superheros, snack on some sweet potatoes.

Hopefully Marvel’s Avengers will help you join in protecting your health with these powerful phytochemicals. If you have any questions or comments about vegetables and phytochemicals or about health in general, please comment or email

~ by danclaps on June 26, 2012.

19 Responses to “The “Avengers” of the Plant World, at Your Service”

  1. Great article…a reminder to eat healthy.

    • Thank you for reading! We certainly hope every article encourages our readers to improve their lifestyles. We are glad you enjoyed this one!

  2. […] Broccoli, Blueberries, and Sweet Potatoes–check out our previous post “Avengers” of the Plant World, at Your Service for more about these plant […]

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  9. […] and energized after my smoothie. I also recommend trying “Green Smoothies”: add some “Avengers” in first thing in the morning to boost immunity and […]

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