We are always told to eat our vegetables and here is another reason why.
Polyphenols are natural compounds found in plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. These compounds have been shown to have a range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, protecting against chronic diseases, and supporting a healthy gut microbiome.
Here are some of the key benefits of including polyphenol-rich foods in your diet:
Reduce inflammation: Polyphenols have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, which can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can damage cells and tissues in the body.
Protect against chronic diseases: Polyphenols have been shown to have antioxidant properties, which can help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
Improve gut health: Polyphenols have prebiotic effects, meaning they promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can help to support a healthy gut microbiome, which is important for overall health and wellbeing.
Support weight management: Some polyphenols, such as those found in green tea and dark chocolate, have been shown to have thermogenic properties, meaning they can increase metabolism and help the body to burn more calories. Additionally, some polyphenols can help to regulate blood sugar levels, which can help to reduce cravings and promote feelings of fullness.
Improve cognitive function: Polyphenols have been shown to have neuroprotective effects, meaning they can help to protect brain cells from damage and improve cognitive function. Some studies have even suggested that polyphenols may help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
There are literally thousands of plants foods that are rich in polyphenols. Here are some examples of foods to include:
Berries - elderberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
Citrus fruits - oranges, grapefruits
Grapes and wine
Spinach, artichokes, onions, green chicory
Herbs and spices: turmeric, oregano, cloves
Green tea, black tea
Olives, Olive oil
Nuts and seeds - pecans, hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts, flaxseed
It's important to note that while polyphenol-rich foods can provide a range of health benefits, they should be consumed as part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Additionally, some polyphenols may interact with certain medications, so it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet.