Are Phytochemicals and Fibre Essential to the Health?

Well considering human nutrition, the essential nutrients that are known to be required for health include 8 to 12 amino acids, vitamin, minerals, 2 essential fatty acids, water and sunlight. These elements are required for health and without them, the condition of tissues gradually deteriorates until disease ensues. However, more recently a number of questions have been raised as to whether a number of other factors should be included in the list of essential elements. Two of the strongest contenders to fill this extension of the category include fibre and non-vitamin phytochemicals. Fibre is a large and broad group of non-digestible carbohydrates that is categorised as soluble and insoluble. Fibre plays an important role in human nutrition because it acts as a substrate for the microbiome in the gut, and this microbiome is essential to the health of humans. A number of phytochemicals also feed this microbiome, and in this way are also important contributors to the health of the individual. In addition, phytochemicals from plants play a significant role in conferring protection from oxidative stress in tissues and in this regard are considered to be a key factor in the prevention of many diseases. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


Rowland, I. 1999. Optimal nutrition: fibre and phytochemicals. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 58(2): 415-419

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
This entry was posted in Fibre, Phytochemistry. Bookmark the permalink.