As we search for the secret to healthy longevity and slowing the process of aging in chemical formulas, skin care products, plastic surgery and even fairy tales of a fountain of youth, we neglect to see that the answer grows in our gardens and or found in the grocery store produce isle. There is a reason why your parents always tell you to eat your vegetables or the reason behind the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.
Dark coloured fruits and vegetables contain nutrients called Polyphenol. Polyphenols are micronutrients that our body needs. They’re packed with antioxidants and have numerous health benefits that may offer protection from the development of cancers, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, digestion issues, weight management difficulties, neurodegenerative disease (Dementia & Alzheimer’s) and can even help to slow down the process of aging.
There are over 8,000 identified polyphenols found in foods such as tea, wine, chocolates, fruits, vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil,1just to name a few. Polyphenols give fruits, berries, and vegetables their vibrant colors, and contribute to the bitterness, astringency, flavor, aroma, and oxidative stability of the food. In the plant, they protect against ultraviolet radiation, pathogens, oxidative damage, and harsh climatic conditions. In humans, they protect your skin against ultraviolet radiation, fights cancer cells and inhibits the growth of blood vessels that feed on tumor, fighting free radicals to reduce the appearance of aging, reduce inflammation and promotes brain health, normal blood pressure and normal blood sugar levels.
Eating a variety of polyphenol rich foods is a sure way of reaping the abundance of health benefits that these miconutirents have to offer. Please note that the best way to ensure that your body absorbs these nutrients is by eating a diet rich in healthy fats. Polyphenols are fat soluble. This means that you should take them with fats in your diet or they won’t absorb as readily. Foods that contain healthy fats are avocados, olive oil, fish oils, nuts, dark chocolates chia seeds, lean grain-fed chicken, to name a few.
Another thing to note is that how the plant is grown can heighten or lower its healing potency. Thus, it is important to know how your food is grown. Better yet grow as much of your food as possible. Having your own garden is not as hard as you may think. A paper published in 2004, noted that agricultural practices and industrial processes can reduce the health effects of the polyphenols in foods. Prior research on agriculture has shown that organically and sustainable grown foods contain significantly higher levels of polyphenols vs conventionally grown foods. If you want to preserve your crops so you can enjoy them when they are out of sesaon, it is best to freeze-dry them. Freeze-drying preserves higher phenol content.
So load up on your vegetables , fruits , herbs and nuts and don’t skimp on your red wine and dark chocolate either!