We are currently in the beginning of a beautiful new age of healthy and conscious living. More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of playing an active role in not only how you look but also how you feel inside. There are many new trends on the block including the superfood groups, fungi and of course blue green algae. However, none are as promising and exciting as phyto pigments.
Though relatively new on the block, phyto pigments are already creating waves in the alternative healthy lifestyle movement. But what exactly are they? And why should you be interested in the first place?
You’ll find all you need to know about these compounds, their benefits and where you can find them, below.
What are phyto pigments?
In simple terms, phyto pigments are compounds that give plants colors. It’s what makes leaves green, roses red and carrots orange. These pigments serve a variety of purposes for the plants including aiding in pollination, protection against predators and even functional tasks like making their own food.
There are as many unique phyto pigments variations as there are color variations in the plant kingdom. However, they can all be summarized into four main groups as highlighted below:
- Chlorophyll: This is by far the most common phyto pigment and is responsible for all the shades of green you see in plants. In addition to being found in plants, chlorophyll is often found in many types of microalgae. It is an integral part in photosynthesis where the pigment traps light needed for the production of food for the plant.
- Carotene: This is responsible for a spectrum of colors including red, orange and yellow. These are utilized primarily for the purpose of attracting animals for the sake of pollination and spreading seeds. However, some forms of carotenoids serve structural functions while others are involved in the process of photosynthesis.
- Anthocyanin: This pigment is somewhat rare, but can often be found in plants in different shades including blue, purple and violet. For the most part, it serves an aesthetic function to attract animal pollinators.
- Betalain: This is yet another rare pigment and is responsible for deep shades of red as you would find in beet roots.
Benefits of these extracts
Clearly, phyto pigments are very important in the plant kingdom. However, when it comes to aesthetics and general physiological functions, you have a lot to gain too. To help put it in perspective, here are some of the most important benefits of phytochemicals to human beings.
- Antioxidant properties: This has for a long time been considered one of the most important benefits of these extracts. They have specific antioxidants which help to quench free radicals
- Improved immunity: Phyto pigments have also been linked with improved immunity in general. One of the main pigments highlighted with this benefit is quercitin which is found in most dark green vegetables like kale and broccoli. It has numerous effects including blocking histamine and promoting production and function of immune cells.
- A healthy topical alternative: As we move steadily towards healthier, organic and more sustainable cosmetic products, phyto pigments visibly play a central role. Some pigments can be used to make cleansing, moisturizing, and antioxidant rich products to give you healthy and youthful skin without exposing you to harmful chemicals.
Where can you find phyto pigments?
Clearly, phyto pigments have a whole lot to offer you in terms of your health and beauty lifestyle. These days, you do not have to go find an exotic flower and drain its pigments yourself to get all these awesome benefits. All you have to do is use high quality foods, supplements, and topicals that contain these wonderful pigments.
But where are these pigments sourced from exactly? Well, there are 3 main sources:
- Vegetables and Fruits: The dark green ones in particular have a lot to offer including antioxidant rich extracts. These include kale, spinach and broccoli. Red and orange fruits and veggies like pumpkins and carrots are also great sources for carotenoids which have numerous health benefits as highlighted above.
- Flowers: Flowers have very high concentrations of these compounds. They specifically produce a lot of red, blue and yellow pigments available on the market today in supplement concentrations.
- Algae: The algae superfood group is another great source of these pigments particularly blue and green groups. You can enjoy the benefits of the extracts in the form of a good algae supplement. These come in the form of tablets, pills and blue green algae powder.
A great example here is organic Wild Microalgae® from New Earth. The supplement is derived from Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) which is a superior type of blue green algae that promises all the benefits highlighted above and so much more.
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