When you include the American Institute for Cancer Research in your estate plans, you make a major difference in the fight against cancer.

Corporate Champions who partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research stand at the forefront of the fight against cancer

The Annual AICR Research Conference is the most authoritative source for information on diet, obesity, physical activity and cancer.

The Continuous Update Project (CUP) is an ongoing program that analyzes global research on how diet, nutrition and physical activity affect cancer risk and survival.

A major milestone in cancer research, the Third Expert Report analyzes and synthesizes the evidence gathered in CUP reports and serves as a vital resource for anyone interested in preventing cancer.

AICR has pushed research to new heights, and has helped thousands of communities better understand the intersection of lifestyle, nutrition, and cancer.

Read real-life accounts of how AICR is changing lives through cancer prevention and survivorship.

We bring a detailed policy framework to our advocacy efforts, and provide lawmakers with the scientific evidence they need to achieve our objectives.

AICR champions research that increases understanding of the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle, and cancer.

AICR’s resources can help you navigate questions about nutrition and lifestyle, and empower you to advocate for your health.

AICR is committed to putting what we know about cancer prevention into action. To help you live healthier, we’ve taken the latest research and made 10 Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

November 16, 2015 | 2 minute read

Difference Between Antioxidants and Phytochemicals?

Q: What’s the difference between antioxidants and phytochemicals?

A: Antioxidants are substances that prevent damage to cells from highly reactive, unstable molecules called “free radicals.” A balance between antioxidants and free radicals in our body is important for health. If not kept in check, free radicals lead to cell damage linked to a variety of chronic diseases. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring compounds in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. In laboratory studies, many phytochemicals act as antioxidants, neutralizing free radicals and removing their power to create damage. Some nutrients, like vitamins C and E and the mineral selenium, seem to block free radicals directly not only in the laboratory, but within the human body, too. When it comes to phytochemicals, however, lab test results don’t accurately depict effects in the body. In fact, many of the phytochemicals that show high antioxidant scores in lab tests can’t even be absorbed from the gut. However, healthful bacteria in the colon may break down many of them, forming other compounds that can be absorbed.

Phytochemicals and the compounds that form from them seem to act in a variety of ways to protect health. Some can increase cancer cells’ tendency to self-destruct; others may stop carcinogens before they have a chance to begin the process of cancer development. They may also block the development of new blood vessels tumors need. Some fight inflammation.

Many phytochemicals also seem to support our body’s ability to balance antioxidants and free radicals. The human antioxidant defense system includes a complex network of enzymes and other compounds working with one another and with antioxidant nutrients supplied by food. The important take-home message from today’s research is that we need a wide variety of plant foods in our diet to get the full spectrum of phytochemicals available to protect our health. Loading up on any one phytochemical or antioxidant just isn’t the same.

Check out AICR’s Healthy Recipes for ideas on how to incorporate plant foods into your diet.

3 comments on “Difference Between Antioxidants and Phytochemicals?

    • Sheena on

      Hi Mohamed you can take a look at AICR’s Cancer Survival section on our website to learn more about treatment tips along with different resources and tools to manage everyday well-being and healthy survivorship.


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