Plant foods contain thousands of natural chemicals, which are called phytonutrients or phytochemicals("phyto" means "plant"). These chemicals help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats. Phytonutrients are not essential, but they may help prevent disease.
More than 25,000 phytochemicals are found in plant foods, and six important phytonutrients are:
Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) is the average daily nutrient intake level that is estimated to meet the requirements of half - 50% - of the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.
Because the needs of the other half of the population will not be met by this amount, the EAR is increased by about 20% to arrive at the RDA.
Before setting the EAR, a specific criterion of adequacy is selected, based on a careful review of the literature. When selecting the criterion, reduction of disease risk is considered along with many other health parameters.