Products and services the world over claim to make you healthier, but the act of eating is the most natural and effective route to health ⎯ especially if you include polyphenols in your diet.
Polyphenols are naturally occurring substances found in many fruits and vegetables that, when consumed, have been shown to benefit human health and to counter the threats of numerous chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancers. We have heard it all our lives ⎯ "Eat your fruits and vegetables!" ⎯ and it truly is the simplest approach to heightened nutrition and health, especially when they're hidden in luscious bites like raspberries, cherries and chocolate.
The three most common polyphenols in the human diet are phenolic acid, flavonoids and tannins. These compounds are found in the intense, even bitter flavours you may taste when you bite into a grape or a stalk of celery. The variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and beverages that contain polyphenols makes it easier to add them to your diet, benefitting your body with their high antioxidants content.
There has been considerable amount of research conducted on polyphenols in the last 15 years. In the early 1990s, their properties were largely unknown and their health benefits largely unstudied. Most of the antioxidant research up to that time concerned vitamins and minerals, but the past decade in scientific nutritional research has featured polyphenols more and more as we strive to discover all the benefits of these compounds. There is still much to learn about polyphenols.
Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that fall into either the high- or low-end of the polyphenol spectrum.That said, just because a fruit or vegetable is listed in the low-end of the list doesn't mean it is not good for you! For example: fresh tomatoes are low in polyphenols, but they are an excellent source of lycopene, which has been found to help protect our skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
As with everything you eat, always try to source it in its most natural state. Processed and concentrated fruits and juices contain significantly less nutritional value than their whole counterparts. Have a matcha cherry smoothie today and reap all the benefits of polyphenols!