Discover the 6 Benefits Of Polyphenol Foods, Recipes, And More That You Should Know.
Once considered little more than decadent indulgences, treats like dark chocolate and red wine have become widely accepted components of a healthy diet in recent years.
These popular ingredients have recently enjoyed an avalanche of positive publicity due to their purported health benefits, with some research claiming that by drinking a glass of red wine with dinner or enjoying a few squares of dark chocolate every day you can do everything from improving heart health to extending longevity.
Many of these health favors are due to their content of polyphenols, a type of natural plant compound with powerful antioxidant properties, which make the benefits of polyphenol foods interesting.
So how can the benefits of polyphenol foods affect your health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases?
Read on about food sources and the bioavailability of polyphenols, plus how you can increase your intake to take advantage of the unique health benefits this micronutrient has to offer.
One of the main benefits of polyphenol foods is that they are loaded with powerful antioxidants that can help neutralize free radicals and fight disease.
Free radicals are unstable compounds that are formed as a result of factors such as stress, pollution, and an unhealthy diet, which accumulate in the body and cause damage to cells.
Studies show that antioxidants can protect against a wide variety of conditions, ranging from heart disease to cancer to diabetes.
Thanks to the antioxidant content of polyphenols, eating more foods with polyphenols can help prevent chronic diseases and minimize the risk of oxidative stress.
Heart disease is a major concern that affects millions of people around the world. According to a report published by the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading underlying cause of death, accounting for approximately 31.5 million deaths worldwide in 2013.
Although many potential factors may play a role in developing heart disease, changing your diet to include more foods with polyphenols can be an effective way to keep your heart healthy and strong.
Several studies have found that a higher intake of the benefits of polyphenol foods is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, a human study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those with the highest intake of flavonoids, a particular type of polyphenol, had 18 percent fewer deaths from heart disease compared to those with the lowest flavonoid intake.
Other research suggests that polyphenols may reduce the risk of heart disease thanks to their ability to scavenge free radicals and alleviate chronic inflammation.
While acute inflammation is a normal immune response that helps protect against injury and infection, maintaining chronic inflammation for long periods can wreak havoc on the body.
Not only can it cause your immune system to start attacking healthy cells, but it has also been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
The benefits of polyphenols foods work by reducing oxidative stress that contributes to inflammation, as well as having powerful effects when it comes to preventing disease, the anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenols can also help reduce the symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Blood clots can be a serious health problem for many people; Blood clots form through a process called platelet aggregation, which occurs when platelets in the blood begin to clump together.
Although this process is necessary to prevent excess bleeding, it can also cause some serious health problems, such as stroke, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis.
The benefits of polyphenol foods can help prevent platelet aggregation to block blood clots.
Resveratrol, in particular, is one of the most studied polyphenols found primarily in berry skins, as well as red wine.
Both animal models and in vitro studies have shown that resveratrol can effectively inhibit platelet aggregation, reducing the risk of blood clots.
In addition to the multitude of beneficial effects on heart health, promising research also indicates that the benefits of polyphenol foods can also help block the growth of cancer cells.
According to a review published in the journal Nutrients, specific types of polyphenols, such as anthocyanins, flavanols, flavanones, and phenolic acids, have been shown to slow the growth and development of cancer cells in in vitro studies.
Plus, many of the best cancer foods are also high in polyphenols and antioxidants, giving you all the more reason to enjoy plenty of nutrient-dense foods like berries, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and fresh herbs and spices.
High blood sugar can lead to side effects such as frequent urination, fatigue, and unintentional weight loss.
Uncontrolled, high blood sugar can also cause many negative long-term health effects, including diabetes symptoms such as nerve damage, vision loss, and wound healing.
The benefits of polyphenol foods can be especially helpful in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
According to a 2016 review conducted in Australia, in vitro studies have found that consuming polyphenols in the diet can stimulate insulin secretion and inhibit certain enzymes that break down starches into simple sugars to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
A recent human study published in the British Journal of Nutrition also showed that a higher intake of polyphenols was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Many of the ingredients commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine are rich in polyphenols and have been used for their medicinal properties for centuries.
Cloves, for example, are loaded with polyphenols. In Ayurveda, cloves are believed to promote digestive health, improve blood flow, and increase metabolism.
In traditional Chinese medicine, cloves are said to affect the health of the spleen, lungs, and kidneys. They are also used to help warm the body and treat conditions such as hiccups, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Green tea, meanwhile, is used in traditional Chinese medicine for its cooling properties and is believed to remove heat and phlegm while stimulating digestion, urination, and the production of bodily fluids.
Other foods such as berries, pomegranates, vegetables, nuts, and herbs are equally rich in polyphenols and are used in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote better health and help prevent disease and infection.
Lectins are a type of protein found in a wide range of foods, including beans, wheat, and potatoes.
In small amounts, lectins can have some pretty impressive health benefits; however, in large quantities, they can disrupt digestion and even damage the lining of the intestines.
Like polyphenols, lectins are a type of antinutrient, which means that they can impair the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.
In vitro studies show that the benefits of polyphenol foods can block iron absorption in a dose-dependent manner; lectins, on the other hand, inhibit the absorption of a wider range of micronutrients and can even cause gastrointestinal upset with symptoms like indigestion, gas, and bloating.
If lectins are causing you problems, there are several ways to reduce the lectin content in foods rich in polyphenols.
Soaking beans and legumes have been shown to cut lectin content in half; sprouting these foods can also be beneficial, allowing you to take advantage of the unique health benefits of polyphenol foods while minimizing the number of lectins in your diet.
Phenols are a type of chemical compound composed of a hydroxyl group attached to a group of aromatic hydrocarbons; they are also known as carbolic acid or C6H5OH.
Because they have antiseptic properties, phenols are often added in small amounts to products like sunscreens, hair dyes, and skin lightening creams – interestingly, however, concentrated amounts of isolated phenols can be highly toxic. and corrosive to the skin.
Meanwhile, the benefits of polyphenol foods are made up of multiple phenol units and are found naturally in many dietary sources.
There are also several types of polyphenols, including flavonoids, stilbenes, lignans, and phenolic acids.
Polyphenols of all classes have been studied extensively and have been associated with many health benefits due to their antioxidant content, from improved heart health to better blood sugar control.
Recipes with polyphenol foods
Ready to start adding more high-polyphenol foods to your diet? Here are some nutritious and delicious recipes that will fit into a healthy polyphenol diet plan:
• Black bean brownies
• Beet, citrus, and chicory salad
• Omega Blueberry Smoothie
• Ricotta and hazelnut stuffed mushrooms
• Spinach and artichoke dip
In recent years, red wine has garnered a great deal of attention for its purported health benefits.
A phenomenon known as the French paradox was initially described in the 1980s when researchers observed that the French had lower rates of coronary heart disease than other countries despite higher intakes of saturated fat and regular consumption of red wine.
There are many potential explanations and theories for the French paradox, but they are believed to stem in part from the polyphenol content of red wine.
Resveratrol, one of the best-known types of polyphenols, is abundant in red wine and the skins of certain types of berries, such as grapes, blueberries, and raspberries.
First isolated in 1939 by a Japanese researcher, resveratrol has since been associated with several important health benefits.
It has been shown to reduce biomarkers for specific diseases and could even be therapeutic for conditions such as neurological disorders, heart disease, and diabetes.
Today, numerous types of polyphenols have been identified and shown to have powerful health effects.
From the hesperidin found in citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, to the epigallocatechin gallate in green tea, there are many different types of polyphenols available in the diet that boast a unique set of health benefits.
Although loading food with polyphenols is unlikely to cause negative side effects, capsules and supplements have been associated with some potential adverse health effects.
Polyphenol supplementation can actually have carcinogenic effects and can even alter the production of thyroid hormones; It can also interfere with certain medications and can also affect iron absorption.
Ideally, it is best to stick to dietary sources of polyphenols rather than using supplements; In addition to containing a generous dose of polyphenols and antioxidants, these highly nutritious foods can also provide a host of other valuable vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.
However, if you decide to take a polyphenol supplement, you may want to check with your doctor if you have a history of thyroid problems, iron deficiency, or cancer, or are taking antidiabetic or blood-thinning medications to avoid an interaction.
If you have other health problems or experience adverse side effects as a result of taking polyphenol supplements, you should also consider consulting with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action.
• Polyphenols are a type of plant compound and micronutrient found in many different fruits and vegetables.
• They are high in antioxidants and have been associated with better heart health, better blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, and a lower risk of developing cancer.
• Some of the best sources of polyphenols include fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, tea, coffee, herbs, and spices.
• Although polyphenol supplements are also available, it is best to increase your intake of foods with polyphenols instead to minimize the risk of adverse side effects.
• Combine polyphenol-rich foods with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle to maximize the potential benefits and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
So what are polyphenols, and how exactly can they affect your health? The official definition of polyphenols is “any compound that contains one or more phenolic hydroxyl groups,” but what does that mean?
Simply put, polyphenols are a type of micronutrient that contains health-promoting properties and can be found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
Plant polyphenols are rich in antioxidants, which can help fight harmful free radicals and prevent damage to cells while reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Polyphenols have also been associated with many other health benefits, ranging from better blood sugar control to a reduction in blood clot formation.
There are four groups of polyphenols found in different food sources. These main types include:
• Phenolic acids
The best way to get your daily dose of polyphenols is by incorporating lots of foods with polyphenols in your diet. Polyphenol supplements are also available, but they have been associated with some adverse side effects, such as impaired hormone production and increased cancer growth.
There are many sources of polyphenol foods available that you can easily add to your diet. In particular, there are a large number of polyphenols in coffee, berries, cocoa powder, and certain spices and seasonings, such as cloves and star anise.
Here are some of the top polyphenol foods you may want to consider increasing your intake of:
• Black currants
• red onions
• Black beans
• White beans
• Black tea
• Green Tea
• Red wine
• Cocoa powder
• Dried mint
• Star anise
• Dark chocolate
• Olive oil
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