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What Are Phytonutrients? Benefits, Where to Find Them, and More

Vertical Farmer

Microgreens are hugely popular in the health and wellness community thanks to their dense phytonutrient content - but what are “phyto” nutrients, anyway?

Sometimes referred to as phytochemicals, phytonutrients are simply the chemicals that plants produce to protect themselves from threats. They also happen to offer a wide variety of health benefits.

Let’s break it down in detail.

What Are Phytonutrients?

The word “phyto” is the Greek word for plant. So technically, the definition is in the name itself.

As noted above, phytonutrients or phytochemicals are substances that plants produce in order to protect themselves from bugs, fungi, germs, and various other threats.

They’re found in all fruits / vegetables aswell as beans, nuts, whole grains, tea, and spices.

The ‘microgreen’ stage of a plant’s life cycle is believed to be when it’s most dense in phytonutrient content.

This means they can offer more nutritional content per amount of weight of food (compared to that microgreens' mature vegetable counterpart).

Health Benefits of Phytonutrients

Now that we know what phytonutrients are, why should we focus on consuming them?

Certain phytonutrients are considered to be powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.

Let’s take a look at a few!


There are over 600 different carotenoids likebeta-carotene and lycopene.

These phytochemicals act as antioxidants -which help to protect our cells from harmful free radicals.

Some carotenoids can also be converted to vitamin A within the body. You can find carotenoids in Kale, Spinach, Tomatoes, Pumpkins, Carrots, and much more.


Glucosinates can help regulate stress responses, inflammation, and metabolic function.

They’ve also been connected to cancer prevention in a few studies.

You can get glucosinates in broccoli, bokchoy, brussel sprouts, and cabbage, among other cruciferous vegetables.


You’ve probably heard that it’s good to eat awide array of colorful fruits / vegetables.


Mainly, we’ll focus on anthocyanins – the term for the pigments that turn vegetables red/purple; like Red Cabbage, Purple Kale, Purple Kohlrabi, and much more.

The fact is, anthocyanins are a powerful antioxidant, with studies showing that they are almost 2x denser than Glucosinolates!

Farmers' Markets

With produce, the fresher the better. Not only for flavor and longevity, but for nutritional bioavailability too!

The longer fruits / vegetables are allowed to sit (during storage, transport, etc), they’re slowly loosing nutritional value.

Because of this, local farmers’ markets are the best options for fresh, local produce.

If you’re anywhere near the greater Sacramento area, we highly recommend the Sacramento Midtown Farmers Market. It offers a diverse collection of local produce, food, art, and so much more.


The market is year-round:

Between J & 20th Street – 8am –1p (Summer hours) & 9am – 1p (Winter hours)


If you can’t make it to the market, we offer local delivery as well - here.


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