People everywhere are starting to become more aware of their dietary choices and how they relate to and affect their overall health. The vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients found in healthy foods can have some major benefits to your well-being, helping you feel youthful even as you grow older. Now, polyphenols are gaining popularity for their seemingly boundless benefits, including the ability to help keep your body strong and healthy – making you feel younger and more energetic. And by incorporating foods rich in polyphenols, you may actually be able to reap some hefty rewards.
But, first things first: Just what are polyphenols?
What are Polyphenols?
Well, simply put, they are naturally occurring (or synthetic) compounds found in plants that are necessary for metabolism (known as metabolites). They are high in antioxidants, which help battle free radicals and oxidation. And they help fight against pathogens and may even help protect against UV radiation. In fact, studies suggest that polyphenols can also help protect your cardiovascular, skeletal, and neurological systems.1
Antioxidants in Polyphenols Battle Free Radicals
Lately, there’s been a great deal of research into polyphenols and how they can help battle free radicals that may lead to aging. Eating the right foods that are high in essential nutrients, including polyphenols, can help boost your health. The high antioxidant content in polyphenols can help keep you looking healthy and youthful.2
Take the well-known polyphenol resveratrol: Studies have shown that resveratrol can help fight off many signs of aging. Researchers believe that it helps battle oxidative stress (particularly damage to tissues/proteins) and is especially beneficial in supporting brain function.3
So, What Healthy Foods are High in Polyphenols?
Well, if you’re looking to up your intake of polyphenol-rich foods, try adding these to your diet:
Many vegetables are high in polyphenols and antioxidants, from carrots to beet greens and everything in between. Onions have lots of polyphenols, and so does broccoli. Keep in mind that fresh veggies are often much higher in polyphenols than frozen ones. So, if you can, grab fresh, in-season produce to get the most potential benefit.4
Nuts, particularly walnuts, are very high in polyphenols. Even peanut butter is high in this healthy compound. Studies have shown that polyphenol-rich nuts (including raw and roasted nuts) can greatly benefit your cardiovascular system and your blood vessel health. The next time you need a healthy snack, reach for a handful of nuts for a boost of polyphenols!5
Grapes and Red Wine
Can a glass of red wine really help keep you youthful? If you enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings, you’ll be glad to know you’re getting a nice boost of protective polyphenols, which can be particularly beneficial to your brain and heart health. The skin and seeds of grapes are especially high in polyphenols, and this carries over to the wine made from them. Choose the highest quality red wines made with organic grapes, and enjoy.6
All kinds of berries — including blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries — are high in antioxidant-rich polyphenols. It is also believed that they can help your body maintain healthy blood sugar levels, particularly after a starchy meal.7 So, after a heavy dinner like pasta, berries can provide a delicious and healthy dessert.
Is chocolate really good for you? Turns out, dark chocolate is because it’s loaded with polyphenols, making it a healthy indulgence (in moderation, of course). Studies have shown that the cocoa in dark chocolate has many anti-aging benefits, and it’s especially beneficial for your cardiovascular and neurological health. Cocoa can also aid your digestive system, increasing the amount of good flora (bacteria) in your gut.8
Need a healthy dessert option? Consider occasionally indulging in some dark chocolate-covered strawberries (or any other kind of berry). They’re super easy to make. Just melt your favorite dark chocolate, and then dip the berries in. Place the berries on parchment or wax paper in the refrigerator to harden, and then, enjoy!
Also, if you happen to be allergic to any of the foods listed here, you should obviously avoid them. But if you’re concerned about your polyphenol intake (or lack thereof), talk with your doctor about what you can do to incorporate more of these compounds in your daily dietary intake.
Polyphenols for Youthful Health
Now you know the answer to the question, “What are polyphenols?” You understand how beneficial they are. So, do all you can to ingest foods that are high in these powerful compounds and oxidation-fighting antioxidants.
And if you’re worried that you aren’t getting enough of this nutrient in your daily diet, or you just want to ensure you get more, talk with your doctor about adding a polyphenol-rich supplement to your daily dietary intake. Putting overall health first starts with a healthy and well-balanced diet full of essential vitamins and nutrients.
The Incredible Date: An Ancient Nutritional Powerhouse
How to Improve Immune System With These At-Home Remedies
Helpful Tips to Keep Your Hair Looking Healthy