Epidemiological Factors

H Wiseman, King's College London, London, UK

© 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

There is considerable interest in the role that dietary phytochemicals may play in the protection of human health. This article considers the epidemiological evidence for the health protective effects of phytochemicals such as flavonoids, phytoestrogens, glucosinolates, and their derivatives and allium organosulfur compounds, particularly against cancer and heart disease. Possible health benefits of the soya isoflavone phytoestrogens to brain (especially cognitive function) and bone health are also considered together with the importance of their metabolism by the gut microflora (conversion of daid-zein to equol) (Table 1). The possible mechanisms of action of these phytochemicals and others of related interest are also considered.

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