In the sphere of nutrition and health, “polyphenols” are amongst the most frequently used terminologies. But what are they?
Polyphenols are micronutrients that we obtain from certain plant-based foods. They’re rich in antioxidants, which means they help combat harmful free radicals in the body. Plus, polyphenols are associated with manifold health benefits. So, let’s dive in deeper and unravel the association of polyphenols with longevity.
Polyphenols and Their Role in Longevity
Research suggests that a polyphenol-rich diet may play a crucial role in prolonging life expectancy. Polyphenols interact with the biological system, contributing to health ABCs like cellular processes, molecular signaling, and microbiota modulation.
Several scientific studies and clinical trials highlight the positive impact of dietary polyphenols on major health issues linked to aging, like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and chronic inflammation.
A. Cardiovascular Health
A diet rich in polyphenols is beneficial for cardiovascular health. These micronutrients improve blood vessel health by reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure. They also aid in reducing LDL cholesterol, popularly known as “bad cholesterol.” Research indicates that adequate consumption of polyphenols lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, contributing to increased lifespan.
B. Diabetes Management
Polyphenols play a proactive role in managing blood sugar levels. They interfere with sugar absorption in the stomach and intestines. This has two benefits – firstly, decreased blood sugar spikes after meals, and secondly, lowered risk of developing type-2 diabetes, a common health risk with age.
C. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Chronic inflammation increasingly affects people as they age. It’s associated with numerous diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Foods rich in polyphenols contain potent anti-inflammatory properties. They help control inflammation, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing these diseases.
How to Include Polyphenols in Your Diet?
If you’re committed to savoring the healing power of polyphenols, you need to incorporate them into your meals. Here are five food categories rich in this powerful micronutrient:
1. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are essential sources of polyphenols. Flavonoids, a type of polyphenol, are abundantly found in apples, red grapes, broccoli, onions, strawberries, cherries, and blackberries. Consume a serving or two daily to meet your polyphenol needs.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are abundant in polyphenols. Walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, and chestnuts are highly nutrient-dense and rich in fiber. Enjoy a handful of a mix of these nuts and seeds daily to get a good dose of polyphenols.
Some spices are laden with polyphenols. Turmeric, cloves, star anise, spearmint, and oregano, amongst others, can be included in your daily culinary delights. They not only add a distinctive flavor but also bump up your polyphenol intake.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains like oats, whole wheat, rye, brown rice, and popcorn are not just rich in dietary fiber and proteins, but also loaded with polyphenols. Incorporating whole grains in your diet could contribute substantially to your overall health and longevity.
Some beverages like green tea, red wine, and coffee are rich sources of polyphenols. Other alcohol-free drinks like soft drinks made with fruit extracts can also contribute to your daily polyphenol intake.
Polyphenols, enriched with their antioxidant qualities, play a pivotal role in reducing diseases associated with aging and enhancing overall life expectancy. They are abundantly found in many plant-based foods and can be easily incorporated into a balanced diet. A routine that includes polyphenol-rich foods can mark the path towards improved health and longevity.