The Effects of Light on the Accumulation of Phytochemicals in Vegetables

Vegetables are an important source of a number of nutrients. Broadly these can be divided into macronutrients including protein, carbohydrate and fat, vitamins and minerals, as well as plant metabolites. The latter category include a large number of plant synthesised chemicals, many of which are bioactive in humans and which may confer specific health effects. Many of the phytochemicals in plants show antioxidant effects and this relates to the way the plant uses these chemicals to protect itself from environmental conditions. Many such chemicals protect the plants from excessive sunlight. Changing the light intensity directed at the plant can significantly increase many of these chemicals, thus improving the potential therapeutic effects of the plants. Gardeners that grow their own vegetables can therefore use this fact to manipulate the chemical content of their plants and thus gardening may indirectly have an influence on the health of the individual concerned through provision of higher quality produce. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


Bian, Z. H., Yang, Q. C. and Liu, W. K. 2015. Effects of light quality on the accumulation of phytochemicals in vegetables produced in controlled environments: a review. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 95(5): 869-877

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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