Polyphenols are compounds that occur naturally in many fruits, vegetables, and herbs. They can act as antioxidants, which means that they can neutralize harmful free radicals in our body that would otherwise damage the cells and increase your risk of conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Many of the health benefits associated with polyphenols may be related to their role as antioxidants and they are known for their ability to combat cell damage.
- Type 2 diabetes
Polyphenols may lower the risk for type 2 diabetes. It may boost insulin sensitivity, as well as slow down the rate the body digests and absorbs sugar.
Polyphenols are known to reduce inflammation by reducing the free radicals and the cellular activity in inflammation cells.
- Heart disease
There are many factors like high cholesterol, heart cell issues, inflammation which may cause heart disease but increasing polyphenols especially through the diet, allows you to have a good positive foundation for heart disease not to occur.
Polyphenol intake may also play a role in body weight regulation. A higher flavonoid intake was associated with lower BMI and waist circumference. These results are significant because obesity is associated with a higher risk for many chronic diseases
Below is small discussion about different foods which are rich in polyphenols
Dark Berries:This fruit is one of the highest sources of polyphenols and can help your gut. Other dark berries offer high phenol content such as black elderberry, plums, blackcurrant, blackberry, raspberry and prunes. Red grapes are high in polyphenols which are found in their skins.
Strawberries: They contribute to preventing and treating chronic-degenerative diseases and lower chronic inflammation.
Artichokes: They are found to help treat breast cancer.
Red Onions: Red onions are better over yellow ones, and they have been shown to have more benefits if you eat it raw.
Spinach: Spinach has a decent amount of polyphenols, too. You’ll also be getting a good amount of fiber, iron, calcium, and vitamin C by adding the green to your plate.
Hazelnuts: All nuts have polyphenols, but hazelnuts have the most and if you like drink it as a nut milk to also get benefits.
Dark Chocolate and cocoa: Cocoa powder has the fourth highest content of polyphenols with dark chocolate ranked number 8, so why not have a hot chocolate now and then or a piece of dark chocolate for those sweet cravings while getting a dose of polyphenols.
Coffee: Your morning cup of coffee is full of polyphenols.
Tea: If you’re a tea drinker, drinking black tea and green tea are found to be best in terms of polyphenol content.
Spices: Cloves, star anise, capers, curry powder, ginger, cumin, cinnamon
Dried herbs: Peppermint, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, lemon verbena, parsley, marjoram
Seeds:Flaxseed, celery seeds
Nuts: Chestnuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts
Olives: Black olives, green olives
Vegetables: Redd chicory, green chicory, broccoli, curly endive, asparagus, carrots, endives, potatoes, red lettuce,
Legumes: Black bean, tempeh, tofu, soybean sprouts, soy meat, soy milk, soy yogurt,white beans
Fruits other than berries: Apples, apple juice, pomegranate juice, peach, blood orange juice, lemon juice, apricot, quince.
Oils: Extra-virgin olive oil as a high content of polyphenol, so make sure you add it to your salad dressing.
As you can see the list is quite big. So, take a look at your diet and see where you can get add more polyphenols to obtain the great health benefits.