According to popular advertising, feeling good in the 21st Century is all about trying to control the way other people perceive us.

Projecting the "right" image and "keeping up with the Joneses", however, is stressful.

It may be possible to become an instant member of the exclusive Jones clan, courtesy of botox injections, liposuction and Prozac, but one suspects a real sense of well-being requires an internal makeover rather than external manipulation.

Luckily, Mother Nature has provided us with phytonutrients to improve our body's interior dcor. Phytonutrients are substances found in plants which can be used to protect our cells from damage.

Nature's little helpers are unlikely to turn you into Madonna, but they have been shown to combat free radicals very effectively which are the main culprits behind degenerative and age-related diseases.

Herbs, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds contain thousands of valuable plant chemicals. Each plant has its own specific set of properties to protect stem, leaves and genetic material from pests and the powerful energy of the sun.

Eating a wide range of colourful plants from diverse families is therefore the most effective way to make use of nature 's infinite spectrum of health benefits.

Organic fruit and vegetables produce higher levels of phytoprotection than the "weedy" sprayed varieties because they don 't rely on pesticides to do the job for them.

Bioflavonoids are responsible for the brilliant red, blue and purple colours in plants which are protective against damage to the skin, cardiovascular system and joints.

Extracts of bilberry have been found to protect the eyes and improve vision, elderberries interfere with virus replication and the humble hawthorne berry possesses greater antioxidant activity than vitamins C and E.

The carotenoid family package its health-giving properties in shades of yellow,orange and red. Beta-carotene is just one of the many different carotenoids on offer, alpha-carotene, lycopene and lutein are others.

Nature presents us with hundreds of carotenoids and thousands of flavonoids to enhance and protect our immune system. Isolating plant chemicals and using them for preventative and therapeutic purposes is an exciting development in the field of nutritional medicine, with many more compounds just waiting to be discovered.

Two generations have been fed on processed, denatured foods and their detrimental effect on health is plain for all to see. So, quit worrying about the Joneses and look out for some real superheroes phytonutrients.