Having a balanced diet means consuming the right items from the different food groups in the correct quantities. By doing so, you will ensure your body gets the essential nutrients at the right amounts every day to help it function properly, and keep it strong and healthy.
Knowing which nutrients your body needs is crucial to maintaining a balanced diet. Aside from the usual key players which are the different vitamins and minerals and fiber, there is one particular nutrient that you should look into boosting your intake of: polyphenols.
What are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are a type of micronutrient that contain various health-promoting properties. These include:
- Protecting the heart from diseases
- Preventing blood clotting
- Relieving and reducing inflammation
- Supporting blood sugar control
- Facilitating the body’s absorption and use of antioxidants
Most fruits and vegetables contain these compounds. Many types of grains and beans, which include high-quality whole coffee beans, are also rich in these micronutrients.
There are four main groups of polyphenols based on their chemical structure. These are:
- Phenolic acids
Flavonoids and phenolic acids are the two types most commonly found in food. Stilbenes and lignans are less common; however, resveratrol, a stilbene, is typically found in red wine.
How Can You Boost Your Polyphenol Intake?
Increasing your intake of food items rich in polyphenols is the only way to ensure your body gets more of this vital nutrient.
Below are some foods and beverages that are rich in polyphenols which you should include in your daily diet:
Apples contain high amounts of polyphenols in both their flesh and skin. To increase your intake of this nutrient, don’t peel the skin off.
The combined action of polyphenols and soluble fiber offers various health benefits which include lowering cholesterol levels and boosting the effects of antioxidants already in your body.
If you really want to get more polyphenols, opt for the Red Delicious apple variety since it has been proven to contain more of this nutrient.
Various studies show that among the different types of foods, cloves have the highest polyphenol content. This seasoning is said to have 15,188 milligrams of polyphenols per 100 grams.
Add cloves to baked sweet and savory goods to boost your polyphenol intake. Cloves will also give your tea and mulled wine a great spicy flavor.
Eating a handful of this fruit will give your body 235 milligrams of polyphenols.
Aside from being yummy treats, research has shown that the polyphenols that strawberries contain can help prevent and treat chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. They reduce chronic inflammation as well.
To enjoy these health benefits, add strawberries to oats, cereals, salads, and pastries. You can also munch on fresh ones in-between meals.
Cherries contain about 274 milligrams of polyphenols per serving. Darker varieties of cherries even have a higher content of this micronutrient.
In addition to boosting your polyphenol intake, cherries are also great for gut health.
So, aside from adding them to pies or using them as spreads, munch on fresh ones as well to enjoy more health benefits.
5. Citrus fruits
Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are some of the citrus fruits rich in polyphenols. However, sweet orange peel packs the highest amount of this micronutrient.
As such, aside from eating the fruit itself, incorporate the rind to your dishes. Add grated rinds to savory dishes and desserts to see the benefits. You can also add slices of orange or lemon with the peel on in your tea and other homemade beverages.
6. Coffee and tea
A cup of freshly brewed coffee contains about 214 milligrams of polyphenols. You will get the same amount even if you drink organic decaf coffee.
To get the most from your morning cup, try to avoid adding sugar and non-dairy creamer. This is because these two can negatively affect the coffee’s polyphenol absorption. And if you want to get more nutrients, opt for a cherry roast.
Black and green teas are also rich in polyphenols. One hundred milliliters of black tea contains 102 milligrams of polyphenols while the same amount of green tea has 89 milligrams.
7. Dark chocolate
Chocolate, both milk and dark, contain flavonoids, a type of polyphenol that helps maintain and improve heart health. However, dark chocolate, which has 102 milligrams of polyphenols, is a healthier option since it contains more flavonoids than the milk variety.
Unfortunately, getting more polyphenols isn’t a good reason to eat a large bar of chocolate every day, even if it is the dark type. This is because this sweet treat still has high sugar and fat content.
To safely get the right amount of antioxidants, limit your intake of dark chocolate to an ounce or less daily.
8. Olive oil
Fresh extra virgin olive oil contains high amounts of polyphenols. It is one of the reasons why this type of oil is recommended for people who want to have better heart health.
However, not all olive oil products are the same. Some brands are diluted; because of this, they contain fewer polyphenols. Also, as the oil ages or is exposed to heat, light or oxygen, its micronutrient content decreases.
Because of this, it is crucial to choose products that are pure extra virgin and come in dark bottles. Make sure to use them as soon as possible as well.
Including these foods in your daily diet will help you stay healthy and fit since you will not only boost your polyphenol intake, but you will also get other essential nutrients to ensure complete nutrition and total wellness.
AUTHOR BIO:- Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.” Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.