Daily Devotional

The Facts About Phytochemicals

Friday, September 23, 2022
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These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. Ps. 104:27, 28, NIV.

During the past several decades the relationship between food and disease has become clearer than ever as scientists have studied the impact of dietary habits on the risk for cancer, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions.

The knowledge that diet is a powerful way to affect health has spawned an endless array of books and programs that promise “new” secrets to achieving its optimum. Some approaches are expensive; some are not factual; many are confusing. Perhaps most important, though, is that nearly all are superfluous. When all is said and done and all of the data have been analyzed, the truth about how to eat for good health is-not surprisingly-identical to the message that God handed down to His people through the ages in the most authoritative textbook for living—the Holy Bible.

One of the most interesting examples of God’s great wisdom appears in relation to some exciting findings of the past two decades. Scientists are discovering a whole bevy of powerful compounds in foods called phytochemicals. They have dramatic effects on a host of diseases. Some are powerful inhibitors of cancer and can actually stop cancer cells from growing. Others protect arteries from plaque buildup, and still others prevent bones from breaking down and weakening. Of great importance is the finding that phytochemicals occur only in plant foods. Meat, fish, poultry, milk, and eggs never contain them.

The discovery of phytochemicals has given rise to the concept of designer foods. They are manufactured foods that science has fortified with phytochemicals isolated from other foods. While these foods may provide health benefits, they tend to be overprocessed, overpackaged, and overpriced. They also may contain only a fraction of the existing phytochemicals, since it is likely that science has yet to discover many of these compounds.

But while scientists and food manufacturers struggle to provide us with health-promoting designer foods, we need only to look to nature to see that these foods have always existed. God gave us the only designer foods we need when He created grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds (Gen. 1:29, 30; 3:18).

Lord, help me to remember that Your knowledge and Your guidance in all things are perfect and complete.

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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