When you think of fresh, vibrant, whole foods like bright green kale, deep red beets, or creamy verdant avocados, you might be hard-pressed to put your finger on what these plant foods have in common. But the answer is fairly simple: plant polyphenols.
Plant polyphenols are the phenolic compounds found in your favorite vegetables and in-season fruits. Take berries for example. It’s the polyphenols that give them their beautiful hues. Polyphenols are micronutrients and the benefits you may experience as a result of indulging in these healthy foods can be great.
Polyphenols have been a hot research item in recent years. When it comes to fighting oxidative stress, supporting your heart health, or bettering your microbiome so your gut microbiota has a happy place to live — polyphenols are said to be able to do it all.
But if you are interested in learning a bit more about polyphenols and how they define flavor, create aroma, and help make red wine and dark chocolate healthy — you’ve come to the right place.
Dietary Polyphenol Benefits And How To Maximize Your Plant Polyphenol Intake
For starters, you can’t consume ‘too many’ polyphenols. And whether you’re consuming green tea polyphenols, polyphenols from organic apple peels, grape polyphenols, or the polyphenols found in versatile and flavorful extra virgin olive oil… the more the merrier.
If you tend not to eat a lot of vegetables or in-season fruit (which should always be consumed in moderation), then you might want to look into supplementing your diet with other polyphenol sources. GundryMD®’s Vital Reds™ actually provides polyphenols from 34 different sources — that’s why it’s such a rich, bright color.
Now, polyphenols are broken up into different categories, so you may not always recognize the way they’re labeled. To make sure you know you’re getting the right plant compounds, try to remember some of these other names polyphenols can go by:
You’ll find the above polyphenols in foods like red cabbage, onions, and (drum roll, please) dark chocolate. The above types of polyphenols happen to make up about 60% of the world’s polyphenols.1
The next most common batch of polyphenols can be found in phenolic acids. About 30% of the world’s polyphenols come in this form. You’ll find phenolic acid in many different types of vegetables, in-season fruits, and lectin-friendly seeds like sesame seeds and flaxseeds. 2
If dark chocolate doesn’t float your boat, maybe the polyphenols in red wine will. You’ll find red wine polyphenols in resveratrol. 3
Green tea, coffee, red wine, other teas, and leafy green veggies are all awesome sources of beneficiary polyphenols. Remember, these all-natural compounds, like the ones found in Vital Reds™, can help your body defend itself against oxidative stress. Polyphenols offer some serious antioxidant properties. 4
Polyphenol Benefits Your Gut Bacteria
When it comes to your health, your gut is the key to staying well. You’ve likely heard that all health begins in the gut. Well, here’s part of the reason why: Your gut provides a stable habitat for gut microbiota — a massive village of microorganisms that reside in your digestive system. When you see the words “massive village” above, it’s not an exaggeration. There are almost 100 trillion bacteria living in your gut on any given day. 5
It follows, then, that the plant polyphenols from the healthy whole foods you love most — like deeply colored leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, green tea, and other teas, and even red wine can benefit that bacteria in many ways.
One reason polyphenols are good for your gut is that they can offer a prebiotic effect — that means they feed your good gut bugs the nutrients they need to thrive and outnumber the bad gut bugs you may consume in toxic or processed foods.6 So look to polyphenols as a way to support the growth of your healthy microbes and limit the growth of dangerous bacteria. 7
The Polyphenols In Both Green Tea And Red Wine
Now, you’ve likely read quite a bit about how free radical damage known as oxidative stress can lead to health issues, but because polyphenols carry antioxidant properties, they can help your body defend itself against oxidative stress over time.
Specifically, the polyphenols in green tea can lend a hand.
Green Tea happens to be one of the most consumed teas around the world — and there’s a good reason why: Green tea is chock full of helpful polyphenols and antioxidants. Epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG, since the technical term is a mouthful), has been shown to support your body’s natural defenses — especially when it comes to immune support.8
There are other teas that have EGCG in them, but they undergo a process of fermentation and that usually kills the EGCG. However, green tea never undergoes any processes of fermentation. Instead, it’s steamed. So, the powerful antioxidants stay strong and active.
Another great source of drinkable polyphenols is red wine. Guess how many polyphenols exist in red wine… 202 milligrams PER GLASS. Other wines don’t come close to that. So, if you happen to be searching for a healthier way to spend your happy hours, look no further than red wine.9
And again, you can never drink too many polyphenols — so whether you go for Vital Reds™, red wine, or green tea you’ll be doing your body a favor. Just make sure to only consume red wine in moderation, meaning no more than 6 oz per day.
Polyphenols For Your Heart Health
While polyphenols have been known to help your health in many ways, one important benefit of the micronutrients is their effect on your heart health. Recent studies have shown that polyphenolic compounds help support healthy circulation.
Everyone’s Favorite Micronutrient: Polyphenol Benefits For Life
Polyphenols are, no doubt, one of plant life’s most beneficial gifts. Not only do they make your food taste and look great, but they can also help your body in more ways than are even listed here. So, stay up to date on your reading. Set an alert in your search engine for the word “polyphenols” and you’ll always get the latest information.
And don’t forget to make polyphenol consumption a part of your everyday diet. Whether you load up on kale or cruciferous vegetables or drink Vital Reds™ each morning, the more polyphenols you consume, the more you will support your health.