What is something that dark chocolate, green tea, red wine, blueberries, flaxseed, and coffee all have in common? Polyphenols!
Polyphenols are a natural compound found in countless plants. They are actually responsible for the bright coloring of many fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols also protect the plants against insects, UV radiation, and bacterial and fungal infections. More than that, however, polyphenols have amazing health benefits for humans (1).
There are thousands and thousands of different types of polyphenols found in just as many fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, spices, and more. Some polyphenol names you may be more familiar with include flavonoids, catechins, anthocyanidins, stilbenes, reseveratrol, phenolic acid, hydroxycinnamic acids, flavanones, isoflavones, and etc.
Here are 11 of the best reasons to incorporate polyphenol-rich foods into your diet:
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1. Found in Healthy, Yummy Foods
First and foremost, you’re not going to eat ‘healthy’ foods unless they are at least a little appetizing. Luckily, most foods high in polyphenols tend to be delicious and easy to find (herbs and spices included, of course) (2).
Some of the most popular polyphenol foods include:
- Dark Chocolate (70%+)
- Red Onions
- Fermented Soybeans
- Red Wine
- Green, Black, White Teas
- Olive Oil
You may recognize some of these foods as “superfoods” or staples of some of the healthier diet plans out there. Both are true. In addition to containing polyphenols, consuming a wide variety of these foods (and reducing or eliminating your intake of processed foods) will benefit your overall health and well-being in countless ways. Best of all, you can enjoy many of the foods on the above list without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.
For example: Enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the morning with a veggie omelet. Have some green or black tea with a heart-healthy lunch and/or with some mixed nuts as an afternoon snack. For dinner, enjoy a colorful salad with spinach, red onion, dried currants, and olive oil/vinegar dressing. Indulge in some dark chocolate covered almonds or blueberries for dessert or a glass of red wine.
Doesn’t sound too bad, right?