It is reported that those living in the blue zones live longer and have the lowest incidence of disease in the world. Studies believe that a common factor of people in these areas is diet, particularly a style of eating commonly referred to as the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is high in plant based foods and healthy fats.
Eating a diet high in plant based foods rich in antioxidant compounds called Polyphenols may significantly contribute to our general health and longevity. Polyphenols are a type of phytochemical (plant chemical) that occurs naturally in plants. There are over 500 unique polyphenols.
Eating a diet high in all forms of polyphenols may be beneficial to our health in many ways. Nearly all fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols and choosing polyphenol rich foods may help protect our cells from disease and damage.
Possible benefits of a Polyphenol Rich diet include:
- Reduced risk of inflammatory related disease such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and hormonal imbalance. Polyphenols may help to protect the cells in the body from free radical damage that occurs from a poor lifestyle, stress, medications and glycation.
- Polyphenols may help with a healthy gut microbiome by promoting the growth of healthy gut flora. There is some evidence to show that a high polyphenol intake can positively modulate the intestinal microbiome enabling more of the eubiotic bacteria that produce short chain fatty acids (which are important in maintaining a healthy gut). Gut microbiota and dietary polyphenols have a symbiotic relationship: the microbiota enzymatically transforms polyphenols to improve bioavailability, while polyphenols modulate microbial composition by enhancing the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the growth of pathogens, thus exhibiting the prebiotic-like effect. In turn this may help with the health of the gut and may benefit those with gut related disorders and diseases.
- Polyphenols may help to protect the cells from damage by helping to protect telomeres. Telomeres are the caps at the end of the chromosomes that protect the DNA. Telomeres are particularly susceptible to oxidation and so eating a diet rich in polyphenols may assist with slowing the rate of telomere degradation.
- Polyphenols may benefit brain function, cardiovascular health and circulation by providing blood vessel support and lowered risk of oxidations of fats in the cellular membranes.
- Polyphenols may boost insulin sensitivity, as well as slow down the rate the body digests and absorbs sugar.
- Higher flavonoid intake may be associated with a lower BMI and waist circumference.
- Polyphenols may impact genes and gene expression. A person's specific genes can also affect how their body responds to certain types of polyphenols.
- Polyphenols may assist with healthy glowing skin. Particularly important for those wanting to delay the signs of premature aging, or those wanting to prevent pigmentation, acne, rosacea and inflammatory type skin conditions.
Plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits tend to be high in polyphenols.
The number of polyphenols in a food can vary depending on where the food is grown, how it is farmed and transported and how it is cooked or prepared. High heat and prolonged cooking may damage or destroy the polyphenol content of food.
Some major sources of polyphenols include:
- Tea including black tea, green and white tea
- Red, blue and black fruits such as berries, red grapes and cherries
- Apples, citrus fruits
- Grape seed
- Purple and red vegetables such as beetroot, eggplant
- Cherry tomatoes
- Wholegrains – oats, barley, rye
- Soy, flaxseeds and legumes
- Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, celery seeds, basil, marjoram and oregano
- Nuts and seeds
- Olives and extra virgin olive oil
- Vita-sol Infinity powder
- Vita-sol Vitality Certified Organic Tea
Eating a plant based diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds and full of fresh produce and minimally processed food is proving to be the healthiest way to eat. Of course a fabulous way to boost your polyphenol intake to maximise the health benefits is to ensure you take 2 teaspoons of Vita-sol Infinity powder every single day, coupled with Vita-sol Vitality tea.