Polyphenols, polyphenols, polyphenols.

What is it: In a nutshell, polyphenols are naturally occurring micronutrients found in plant based foods that are rich in antioxidants. 

Polyphenols are secondary metabolites of plants and are generally involved in defense against ultraviolet radiation or aggression by pathogens. - US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

There's a lot of data about the benefits...

It is suggested that daily consumption of dietary polyphenols may provide efficient protection against or help with prevention of some diseases like hypertension, and diabetes, asthma, infections, and cancers.

It is also noted that polyphenols may provide effective protection against aging and the harmful effects of solar UV radiation!

Daily consumption of dietary polyphenols may provide efficient protection against the harmful effects of solar UV radiation in humans. Furthermore, the use of these micronutrients in combination may provide an effective strategy for protecting human skin from damage by UV exposure.

There is a ton of data to support this, which I find fascinating...but hoping not to bore you and that you'll stay with me till the end so let's cut to the chase.

Become a label reader. 

At first it takes a little longer to grocery shop, but because my family has so many food allergies and intolerances, I can tell you that with practice you will become adept at label reading. If you’re interested to add polyphenols to your diet, here are some buzzwords/vocabulary to look for when you’re scanning labels in the grocery aisle.

Favonoids or flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavanols, anthocyanins and isoflavones 😅Quercetin, myricetin, catechins (this is the most studied area of polyphenols with lots of complicated scientific data. Basically, besides onions and tea, look for the most attractive, colorful fruits, flowers and leaves and eat these)
Stilbenes ie: resveratrol (this one is easy. Look for the red wine aisle)
Lignans ie: linseed (the search engine says linseed is the same as flaxseed - why not just say flaxseed)

 

Bioavailability.

Bio what what? Basically what this means (as I understand it) is that every body will absorb polyphenols differently. Literally. So the idea that the plant based foods with the highest concentration of polyphenols is a good one, but this does not necessarily mean that high concentration is going to be absorbed by your body. And your intestine’s absorption rate is likely going to be different than another family member’s. Further, different polyphenols may be absorbed in different parts of our bodies ie: stomach vs. intestine. I’m just telling you this so you don’t get all competitive with your family as each person is going to experience benefits differently. So don’t give up and keep trying different foods or combinations of foods.

What should you eat?

Fruits
Veggies
Legumes
Nuts And Seeds
Some Grains
Herbs, spices, tea, dark chocolate, healthy oils, ginger and red wine

 

Is it worth it to try? 

Umm, yeah. Just to emphasize, polyphenols also protect skin damage caused by sunlight

A number of efficient micronutrients are capable of contributing to the prevention of UV damage.

If eating your fruits and vegetables like mom said is going to help us age gracefully, why not give it a try. And did you see the last item on the list? red wine.

We are invested in your future self. Thank you for being here!

Sharone,
Founder + CEO of HELIADES
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