You’ve heard the saying “…an apple day keeps the doctor away..” but in this case eating an apple, drinking certain beverages, chomping down on delicious whole grains and savouring some essential fats…really can help to keep your GP at bay…and how is this so? Polyphenols that’s how, read on to find out more!
Did you know…
Polyphenols are a group of naturally occurring micronutrients in plants. There are more than 500 unique polyphenols. Collectively, these chemicals are known as phytochemicals. These compounds give a plant its colour and can help to protect it from various dangers. Polyphenols occur naturally and are found mostly in fruits, vegetables, cereals, dry legumes, chocolate, some beverages, and spices. They have antioxidant properties and protect plants from ultraviolet radiation. When you eat plants with polyphenols, you can reap all the health benefits as well. It’s thought that polyphenols can improve or help treat digestion issues, the development of cancers, osteoporosis, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
The number of polyphenols in a food can vary depending on where the food is grown, how it is farmed and transported, how ripe it is, and how it is cooked or prepared.
Although some foods may have higher polyphenol levels than others, this does not necessarily mean that they are absorbed and used at higher rates.
Foods that contain Polyphenols:
- Cloves and other seasonings: cocoa powder, capers, saffron, turmeric, dried oregano, dried rosemary, soy sauce, cloves, dried peppermint, star anise, celery seed, dried sage, dried spearmint, dried thyme, dried basil, curry powder, dried ginger, cumin, cinnamon
- Fruits: oranges, apples, grapes, peaches, grapefruit juice, cherries, blueberries, pomegranate juice, raspberries, cranberries, black elderberries, blackcurrants, plums, blackberries, strawberries, apricots.
- Nuts, seeds and legumes: roasted soybeans, black beans, white beans, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, flaxseed.
- Vegetables: spinach, onions, shallots, potatoes, black and green olives, globe artichoke heads, broccoli, asparagus, carrots.
- Whole grains: whole grain wheat, rye, and oat flours
- Fats: Dark chocolate 70% +, virgin olive oil, sesame seed oil.
- Beverages: coffee, tea, red wine
Many of the health benefits associated with polyphenols may be related to their role as antioxidants. Antioxidants are best known for their ability to combat cell damage. They can help prevent cellular damage from free-radicals that occur with pollution, smoking, eating rancid foods, and as a byproduct of normal metabolism. It’s also thought that polyphenols contribute to the body being in an anti-inflammatory state. This is also associated with a lower risk of several chronic diseases.
Queretin is one of the most researched antioxidant bioflavonoids among the vast list of flavonoids. Quercetin tops the list of around 6000 bioflavonoids that are naturally occurring in a wide variety of plant foods. In particular, quercetin is most abundant in apples, onions, broccoli and blue berries.
As mentioned, antioxidants help prevent cellular and tissue damage by removing toxins from the body and by reducing inflammation. Many athletes have added quercetin supplements to improve muscle recovery and reduce levels of inflammation caused by their workouts and to improve their overall athletic performance.
Polyphenols are powerful micronutrients that our body needs. They have numerous health benefits that may offer protection from the development of a variety of diseases. Make sure you are getting your daily amount from a varied and balanced diet, together with regular exercise keeping your heart healthy, boosting your immune system for longevity and quality of life..