The Power of Polyphenols
If you’re at all interested in health and wellness, chances are you’ve heard the word
“Polyphenols” thrown around a few times. But for those of you who don’t know, it’s important to first define what exactly a polyphenol is. Simply put, polyphenols are a category of chemicals that naturally occur in plants. There are more than 500 unique polyphenols, with each offering specific benefits to our health.
The most common groups of polyphenols are flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and lignans. The first, flavonoids, are found naturally in many fruits and vegetables. They’re also in plant products like wine, tea, and chocolate. Flavonoids are rich in antioxidant activity and can help your body ward off everyday toxins. Including more flavonoids in your diet is a great way to help your body stay healthy and potentially decrease your risk of some chronic health conditions.
Phenolic acids are abundant in a plant-based diet. You should get plenty of them as long as you consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. What makes this group of
polyphenols special is that they are absorbed through the walls of your intestinal tract. They
may be beneficial to your health because they work as antioxidants that prevent cellular
damage due to free-radical oxidation reactions. They may also promote anti-inflammatory
conditions in your body when you eat them regularly.
Stilbenes, a lesser known sub-category of polyphenols have an extraordinary potential for the prevention and treatment of different diseases, including many types of cancer, due to their antioxidant, cell death activation, and anti-inflammatory properties which associate with low toxicity under in vivo conditions. A powerful source of stilbenes is berries. Blueberry, cowberry, lingonberry, and acai berry showed the highest levels! So, açai bowl anyone?!
Lastly, lignans, which are abundant in many types of seeds, most notably flax seeds, have
heaps of evidence suggesting that dietary lignans have the ability to modulate inflammation.
Studies also showed that individuals who consumed high amounts of lignans showed a lowered risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, and breast cancer.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that polyphenols are an important part of a balanced diet. If you’re eating a plant-based diet rich in whole grains, seeds, fruits, and vegetables, you'll be able to reap all the amazing benefits that this incredible compound has to offer!
To inspire you to consume more polyphenols, we’ve put together some superfood meal ideas for you that are packed with this powerhouse!
Breakfast- oatmeal with ground flax seeds and blueberries with a cup of green tea.
Lunch - Buddha bowl with brown rice, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, green veggies, and
Dinner - Quinoa pasta with marinara sauce, olive oil, and broccoli.
Dessert - dark chocolate and blueberries