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What are polyphenols?
You probably know that red wine and dark chocolate are good for your health, but ever wondered why? The answer lies in antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols in food are believed to have amazing effects on the body, some of which include reduction in inflammation, prevention of cardiovascular diseases and pain relief. Although wine and chocolate are the most talked-about sources of polyphenols, there are many other foods that contain adequate amounts of these disease-fighting antioxidants. Incorporating these foods into your diet is the simplest and most affordable way to treat your condition and improve your wellbeing.
Which foods contain polyphenols?
Although the study of polyphenols in food is still in its early stages, research states there are almost 8000 types. They can, however, be divided into four categories: flavonoids, stilbenes, lignans and phenolic acids. All these can be found in different everyday food items and perform unique functions when consumed. It is not advisable to target specific foods for the type of polyphenols they contain. Instead, aim to eat a balanced diet of the mentioned foods for maximum results.
The best sources of polyphenols are unsweetened cocoa usually found in dark chocolate, green tea, coffee, red wine, beans and dark berries. Apples, cherries, purple grapes, citrus fruits and plums are also rich in antioxidants. Vegetables such as broccoli and radishes are known to have high polyphenol content, together with legumes, algae, grains and some cereals.
Polyphenols and inflammation
Inflammation in the body has two natures. On one side, it is a good sign that your body is actively fighting disease. On the other, too much inflammation can cause disease or worsen existing ones. Many heart attacks, cancers and cases of arthritis, diabetes and asthma are a result of excessive inflammation. A polyphenol-rich diet can effectively treat the inflammation that leads to these life-threatening conditions.
Polyphenols and heart disease
Polyphenols in food can help keep your heart healthy and prevent different kinds of cardiovascular diseases. Foods such as red wine and green tea can help you maintain good cholesterol levels and stop fat from accumulating in the blood vessels. The antioxidants also prevent blood clots and inflammation, which are some of the leading causes of cardiac arrest.
Polyphenols and cancer
An interesting discovery by the American institute of Cancer Research has named polyphenols as one of the most effective ways to treat cancer. Ellagic acids in particular proved to have a reversing effect on cancer by stunting the growth of cancer cells and destroying substances in the body that cause malignant tumors. Ellagic polyphenols are highly present in purple grapes and green tea.
The content of polyphenols in food is enough to prevent and treat a range of diseases, provided you add an adequate water intake to your diet as well. However, in cases when you need the antioxidants’ healing capabilities urgently, taking polyphenol supplements in tablet form might be a good option. Speak to your physician first about the dosage you need before purchase.