Do you know why matcha, dark chocolate, and red wine are considered super healthy? The thing is that they are high in polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients that are plant-based powerhouses. If you want to increase your levels of antioxidants to combat inflammation, prevent cancer, and get many other health benefits, you’ll want to add more polyphenol-rich foods to your diet.
Why are polyphenols so essential and how do they work? Many benefits of these magic compounds come from their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. By reducing the number of free radicals in the body and combating oxidative stress, polyphenols decrease cellular damage that can contribute to a host of chronic conditions.
The benefits of consuming these micronutrients are impressive. Polyphenols have been shown to protect from heart disease, lower inflammation that can provoke health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, prevent the formation of blood clots and regulate blood sugar levels. Moreover, polyphenols are found to be helpful in the prevention of cancer and type two diabetes.
Here is a list of foods that can boost your overall health due to the high content of polyphenols:
1. Extra virgin olive oil
Olives are full of polyphenols, and olive oil is a good source of these micronutrients. So, it’s time to dress your salads and veggies with this superfood. But make sure to buy the extra virgin option which contains the highest quantity of polyphenols since it’s the least processed version of the oil.
Each type of nut can provide your body with a good amount of polyphenols. But hazelnuts and pecans have the highest polyphenol content. Walnuts have been shown to be a powerhouse as well. So, it’s a good idea to snack with a mix of nuts.
The good news is that your morning cup of coffee is giving you a great boost of polyphenols, a particular type of polyphenols called chlorogenic acids. Chlorogenic acids have been shown to help to prevent several chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver disease.
4. Berries (especially blueberries)
Though all berries have a big amount of polyphenols, blueberries far exceed the others. Blueberries are full of free-radical fighting antioxidants that protect our bodies against certain types of chronic disorders. Plus, polyphenols contained in blueberries might help lower the activity of several triggers of overall inflammation.
All veggies contain various polyphenols, but if you want to boost your levels of the nutrient significantly, choose spinach and artichoke. Spinach is especially rich in antioxidants, including polyphenols, which act like protective compounds that give spinach its anti-aging properties.
6. Red wine
Red wine is also full of polyphenols. More specifically, red wine and grape juice are high in resveratrol, a specific kind of polyphenol that combats inflammation.
7. Spices and herbs
Many fresh herbs and spices contain polyphenols, so it’s time to load up your meals with herbs for an extra antioxidant boost. Cloves top the list as one of the most polyphenol-rich food you can eat, with a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids.
8. Green tea
You’ve possibly heard that green tea (and matcha) are great sources of antioxidants, and, in turn, they’re also rich in polyphenols. Green tea has flavonoids, a form of polyphenols that make up 30% of the dry weight of the tea.
9. Dark chocolate
Yes, cacao and dark chocolate are full of flavonoids as well. Dark chocolate has been found to contain the highest content of polyphenols and flavonoids of all food sources. Moreover, the polyphenol content in dark chocolate might be involved in cholesterol control and helps increase good cholesterol levels while decreasing bad cholesterol.
The Bottom Line
If you feel your overall health is poor, don’t delay your visit to a physician. Eating antioxidant-rich foods is great, but it might be not enough if you have a serious condition. Your doctor will perform an examination which may include nutritional counseling, laboratory testing, screening tests, family medical history screening, and other important things that will help find the root cause of your poor well-being.