Compounds produced in plants in response to environmental stressors such as water scarcity, ionizing radiation, or insect attack. Phytochemicals lend color, flavor, and odor to many fruits and vegetables. While categorically toxic, phytochemicals are ingested by humans at concentrations that are too low, in most instances, to produce illness. Rather, they switch on a vast array of responses that protect cells from harm, a biological phenomenon referred to as hormesis.

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