Antioxidant power: Polyphenols and why you need them
You’ve surely heard about antioxidants and how important they are in the makeup of your healthy diet, but have you heard of polyphenols? These super-nutrients valiantly fight free radicals and are in your everyday foods -- if you're following a healthy diet. Here's more on polyphenols and why you need them.
What are polyphenols?
Polyphenols are, basically, a natural chemical found in plants. Flavonoids and tannins are types of polyphenols, and both provide huge benefits to the body by eliminating free radicals. Their benefits depend on what and how much you consume, and the bioavailability (the rate at which something is absorbed) of the particular polyphenols. A good example of this is the peeling foods, which sometimes takes away much of their polyphenol power, as some can have higher concentrations on the outside rather than the inside.
The best food sources of polyphenols
According to Keri Glassman MS, RD, CDN, and author of the 02 Diet, polyphenols are the most abundant dietary antioxidants. "The main sources are fruits and plant-derived beverages, such as juices, tea, coffee and red wine." You can also enjoy them in dark chocolate, flaxseed meal and whole-grain rye bread. If you eat a healthy diet, you're likely consuming polyphenols without even knowing it.
Go organic for the most polyphenols
Environmental circumstances affect the potency of polyphenols, and organic or sustainably farmed sources of polyphenols are most effective. Look at labels on items such as juice drinks for information about phenol content. Some grocery stores have signs with the various produce describing which polyphenols they contain. Look for the terms "phenol" or "anthocyanin."
Polyphenols can prevent disease
Information about polyphenols and disease prevention is also emerging. Blueberries have been shown to help not only in protecting brain cells but also in promoting the generation of new cells. There is increasing promise in studies with flavonoid-rich foods and memory boosts, while green tea is lauded for healthy cholesterol maintenance.
Polyphenols are potent anti-aging nutrients
Because they boast anti-inflammatory properties and are known to boost blood circulation, polyphenols are potent weapons to help your body look and feel younger on the inside and out! So many of the new skin products sold these days offer fruit- and plant-related recipes promising to give you a face you may have had 10 years ago. Well, there just might be something to all that hype! Peels, serums and wrinkle relaxers can all contain phenols in some way, shape or form. Look for organic or "natural" products to find the purest forms for your skin.
Since polyphenols are vital to your health and even your beauty regime, make sure you're getting plenty in your diet.