What are your favorite plant-based foods

Botanicals: These 10 plants can complement a healthy diet

From artichoke to rosemary - we present 10 plants that have been valued as food for generations and, thanks to their high-quality ingredients, are also used in dietary supplements.

Plants and herbal preparations have always been part of the human diet. They are consumed in juices and salads, as tea, in spirits or as condiments and are also available in concentrated form as dietary supplements. Around 17 percent of all food supplements sold in Germany contain one or more Plant extracts and thus help with the diet high quality phytonutrients to complete.

Plants provide people with important ingredients such as carbohydrates, protein and fat, but also vitamins, minerals and of course water. In addition, they contain the so-called secondary plant substances.

What are phytochemicals?

Secondary plant substances are substances that are produced by plants and are therefore part of our daily diet. They give plant foods their color, serve the plants as defense substances against predators or microbial attack and also act as flavoring substances and messenger substances. So far, around 100,000 different phytochemicals are known, of which between 5,000 and 10,000 are found in human food. They are not counted among the essential nutrients for humans, but they influence a large number of metabolic processes, which is why various health-promoting effects are being discussed.

10 exemplary plants

10 plants because of their botanical ingredients and especially because of her secondary plant substances are valued and therefore also in concentrated form as a dietary supplement are offered, we have listed below.

1. Artichoke

The artichoke (botanical: Cynara cardunculus) is a thistle-like plant with edible budded inflorescences. The artichoke hearts in particular, which taste bitter, are a popular food. Artichoke leaf extracts are mainly used in food supplements. These contain numerous secondary plant substances, including derivatives of caffeoylquinic acid, but also bitter substances such as cynaropicrin and flavonoids (e.g. luteolin).

2. Cranberry

Cranberries (botanical: Vaccinium macrocarpon) are said to have got their name from the crane, whose beak is reminiscent of the stamens of the flowers. Their German name, cranberry or cranberry, is hardly known here. Cranberries are related to lingonberries and contain a lot of vitamin C. They also contain many phytochemicals, especially proanthocyanidins.

3. Ginkgo

ginkgo (botanical: Gingko biloba) is a tree from Asia, which has been known there for thousands of years as a temple tree, food and medicinal plant. It is now growing worldwide, including in Germany. It is extremely resilient and can live up to 1,000 years. The gingko nuts are traditionally served on the plate. When roasted, they are reminiscent of the taste of pistachios, chickpeas or chestnuts. They taste slightly bitter when cooked. Tea and extract are made from the leaves. Gingko leaves contain the secondary plant substances flavonoids (for example quercetin), terpenoids, sitosterols and anthocyanins.

4. Ginseng

ginseng (botanical: Panax ginseng) is a tuber with a similar origin to ginkgo. The plant originally comes from the mountain forests of East Asia. There it thrives on shady slopes. In China, the roots have been used for over 2,000 years. These consist of two to three percent of certain saponins, which include ginsenosides.

5. Pomegranate

The pomegranate (botanical: Punica granatum), also known as the fruit of the gods or the fruit of paradise, belongs to the loosestrife family. It is said to originally come from West or Central Asia. Pomegranate is mentioned in Greek mythology and religious scriptures. The fruits, more precisely the kernels, are a popular food ingredient. The blood-red fruit contains minerals such as potassium and iron as well as B vitamins. It also contains polyphenols and flavonoids, so-called antioxidants.

6. Turmeric

turmeric (botansich: Curcuma longa) belongs to the ginger family. The turmeric root has been used worldwide for thousands of years as a spice, but also as a dye and remedy. Turmeric is a key ingredient in curry powder. It gives the spice mixture its typical color. The secondary plant substance curcumin is responsible for the ocher yellow to orange color.

7. Milk thistle

Milk thistles (botanical: Silybum marianum) occur mainly in the Mediterranean area. Here they grow on dry soils on roadsides and pastures. The fruits of the milk thistle contain flavones, flavonoids, bitter substances, biogenic amines, tannins and colorings. The mixture of four phytochemicals that belong to the family of flavonolignans is considered to be particularly valuable.

8. Melissa

The Lemon balm (botanical: Melissa officinalis) belongs to the mint family and grows up to 80 centimeters high. The plant smells lemony, which is why it is also called lemon balm. The leaves enrich many dishes, for example as an ingredient in salads, pasta dishes or with fish. They supply an essential oil with fragrances such as citral, which are responsible for the citrus odor, with terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene and with tannins such as rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid.

9. Pumpkin

Pumpkins are one of the most popular autumn vegetables, with the highlight around Halloween. Above all, he is known Garden pumpkin (botanical: Cucurbita pepo). The pumpkin fruits become delicious dishes such as pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup and much more. And also the seeds that Pumpkin seeds, are interesting as food. In addition to vitamin E, selenium and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid, they contain plenty of plant sterols (phytosterols).

10. Rosemary

The rosemary (botanical: Rosmarinus officinalis), is an evergreen subshrub belonging to the mint family. In the European Middle Ages, rosemary was a symbol of love and has long been valued as a spice - especially in Mediterranean cuisine. Rosemary is a rich source of polyphenols, especially rosmarinic acid. Other ingredients are essential oils, flavonoids and triterpenes.

What effects do plants and plant substances have on health?

The European Food Safety Authority is responsible for testing and approving health-related claims on food. The statements (list) that have been approved so far are mainly those relating to vitamins and minerals. The testing of the effects of plants and phytonutrients is still pending.

Post photo: Photo: goanovi - stock.adobe.com

Taggedbotanicalsnutritionnutritional supplementsherbal food-secondary botanicals