In this day and age, it seems more and more people are starting to think about the benefits of healthy eating. Many people now realize that healthy eating. The majority of people used to consume a poor diet, but no longer seems true. The Daily Mail reports that in the last thirteen years, the percent of people consuming a poor diet dropped from 56% to just 46%.

More people are starting to avoid sugary drinks like soda and even unhealthy, fat and calorie-laden foods. Instead, they are opting for healthy options, though some people do not know what healthy options they have. Foods offer certain nutritional benefits that can help you improve your health and even lose weight.

For instance, if you wish to improve your health, try eating foods containing polyphenols. Polyphenol foods can improve various aspects of your health. Understanding what improvements to your health they can make and what foods contain polyphenols can assist you in implementing healthier eating habits into your daily lifestyle.

What Are Polyphenols?

Polyphenol sounds a bit like a scary word because it is not something you often hear. However, it is anything but scary. Polyphenols are a group of micronutrients or phytochemicals that naturally exist in certain plants and vegetables. In fact, it is those micronutrients that give plants and vegetables their color.

You do not often hear mention of the word polyphenol unless some scientific study arises to support the benefits of eating polyphenol foods. Whether you are familiar with polyphenols are not, the question is whether they can provide health benefits or is it all just hype?

Benefits of Polyphenols

First, you should know that plants and vegetables contain many different polyphenolic compounds. In fact, one research study determined that that are different plant species that contain over 8,000 polyphenolic compounds. Many foods contain two classes of phenol acids, too.

The most studied polyphenolic compound is flavonoids. In truth, flavonoids are one of the main reasons plants and vegetables are so healthy and good for you to eat. Flavonoids offer antioxidant powers that can improve your overall health in many ways, thus the reason polyphenols can also improve your health.

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Some of the benefits you can expect from eating polyphenol foods include:

  • Improvements among people with Type 2 diabetes
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Reduction of heart disease
  • Improvements in weight loss to help combat obesity

Breaking it down a little further to understand how polyphenols can assist with the help benefits listed above will help you determine if they are worth consuming.

Type 2 Diabetes

Some research suggests that polyphenols may help decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Polyphenols may offer an insulin boosting property by decreasing the rate at which the body digests and even absorbs sugars. Flavonoids, in specific, can assist with a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

People who consumed polyphenols foods containing a flavonoid known as flavan-3-ols experienced a lesser chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Therefore, eating foods high in polyphenols or even taking polyphenol supplements may prove helpful in helping you avoid issues with diabetes.

Inflammation

Inflammation is a common issue for many. There are several reasons why a person may experience inflammation. For instance, exercise and other physical activities can lead to pain and inflammation. Unfortunately, continued experiences with inflammation may increase your risk of developing cancer of heart disease.

Luckily, polyphenol-rich foods can help you combat inflammation. One study researched the effects of polyphenols on animals and found that it helped to reduce inflammation, particularly after exercise. Rats involved with the study were able to perform strenuous activities longer than rats who did not receive polyphenols.

By lowering inflammation, it can help you lower your chances of developing certain cancers and heart disease. The polyphenolic compounds that help reduce inflammation are lignans. Lignans often occur in foods such as whole grain rye flour and virgin olive oil. Consuming foods containing those ingredients may boost your immunity against inflammation issues.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is another issue that commonly assaults a majority of the population. Fortunately, polyphenol foods can help lower your risk of developing heart disease. Some studies show that consuming cocoa is the best way to reduce your blood pressure, thereby reducing your risk of developing heart disease.

Cocoa is rich in polyphenols, and it may take as little as two weeks to start seeing the resulting benefits on your blood pressure rates. Aside from minimizing blood pressure issues, consuming cocoa can also lower the amount of LDL, which is low-density lipoprotein in your blood. Your body can contain both good and bad cholesterols, and LDL is bad cholesterol.

The goal is to boost good cholesterols in your body, which is HDL, or high-density lipoproteins. If you consume polyphenol foods, such as cocoa, you can do just that. Therefore, eating some yummy cocoa, so long as you do not overdo it, can protect you against the threat of heart disease.

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Obesity

Obesity is the one word that far too many are familiar with, especially since it is such an issue for many Americans. Obesity occurs when your body mass index, or BMI, exceeds health calculations set forth by medical health professionals. In conjunction, your waist circumference will also exceed normal standards.

Many people battle with obesity issues, which is why it is so important to find ways to get it under control. If not reigned in, obesity can cause several health issues, including an increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and heart attack. Fortunately, polyphenols may assist in regulations to your body weight.

Consuming polyphenol-rich foods allows you to ingest healthy flavonoids. Flavonoids help decrease your wait circumference and BMI levels. Improving your weight regulation can assist you in lower your risks of developing chronic and dangerous diseases. Therefore, consuming polyphenol foods is well worth trying.

Foods that Contain Polyphenols

foods that contain polyphenols

Image via Dr. Lori Shemek

So now that you understand the benefits, perhaps you would like to try a diet rich in polyphenols. Of course, you need to know what foods to eat. Foods high in polyphenols are vast and plentiful, making it easy for you to include them in your daily diet. The foods listed below are some of the most polyphenol-rich foods you can eat.

Seasonings

Many seasonings are rich in polyphenols, though the seasoning that contains the most is cloves. 100 g of cloves contain 15,188 mg of polyphenols. The next time you are about to chow down on a meal, find a way to incorporate cloves into it. Many foods and beverages pair well with cloves.

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Cocoa

Cocoa contains polyphenols, or more specifically, flavonoids. Considering the many benefits of flavonoids, it appears that it is well worth grabbing some cocoa powder and adding it to some of your recipes. For every 100 g of cocoa powder you consume, you are also receiving 3,448 mg of polyphenols. If you are not much of a cook, you could always eat dark chocolate instead.

Berries

There are many reasons to eat berries. Berries, especially dark berries, have amazing health benefits. They are high in antioxidants and a great source of polyphenols. If you would like to consume berries as a source of polyphenols, try eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and even raspberries.

Fruit

Other fruits that are not berries also contain polyphenols. While they may not contain a significant number of polyphenols in comparison to berries, they are still good for you and your health. Cherries, plums, and apples all contain polyphenols, and as they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

 

Vegetables

Like fruits, vegetables are also a great source of polyphenols. Of course, vegetables contain fewer polyphenols than fruit, but they still have enough to offer a difference in your health. Vegetables that contain the most polyphenols include:

  • Spinach
  • Artichokes
  • Red onions

Nuts

Nuts are a healthy snack. They contain healthy fats and plenty of protein to help you when you are trying to lose weight and eat healthily. They also contain polyphenols. The next time you head to the store, grab some walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans to improve your intake of polyphenols.

Beans

Beans are often great food to eat because they can help cleanse your colon. Apparently, they are also a good source of polyphenols. More specifically, make sure you purchase black or white beans if you wish to eat a bean that offers a decent dose of polyphenols.

Beverages

Foods are not the only way you can receive a daily dose of polyphenols. You can also drink certain beverages. In particular, you should drink black or green tea. A glass of red wine is also a healthy source of antioxidants and polyphenols.

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Overall

It would appear that a diet rich in polyphenols can help improve your health in many ways. It is worth switching up your diet and giving it a try. You may just notice various improvements in as little a month or even just a couple of weeks.

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