by Apple Therapy

A Day to Celebrate Polyphenals!

Pomegranates, dark chocolate, black beans, and cloves… What do these foods have in common? They are all examples of polyphenol rich foods. Polyphenols are a type of micronutrient found in plants that contribute to the color, flavor, bitterness, and life of the plant-based foods we consume. National Polyphenol Day is celebrated annually on July 11th to appreciate the benefits of polyphenol-rich diets.

Current research suggests diets with a variety of plant-based foods containing polyphenols can reduce the risk of chronic health conditions. Polyphenols function as antioxidants, which suggests they can limit the risk of degenerative diseases caused by oxidative stress (Pandey & Rizvi, 2009). Benefits of polyphenols include increased heart health, decreased cancer risk, decreased risk of diabetes, and brain protection.

Common Polyphenol-Rich Foods

  • Cocoa and Coffee– dark chocolate, cocoa powder, black coffee, coffee beans
  • Berries – Elderberries, black currants, blueberries, blackberries
  • Herbs & Spices- Most herbs and spices contain polyphenols, but those highest in this nutrient include cloves, peppermint, star anise, curry, and basil
  • Nuts and Seeds – flax seeds, chestnuts, hazelnuts
  • Beans and legumes – black beans, soybeans, soy products
  • Vegetables – black or green olives, artichokes, spinach

In summary, there are a large variety of foods to choose from containing polyphenols. While most of your consumption should come from options like fruits, vegetables, and legumes; adding olive oil, red wine, and dark chocolate can be of benefit in moderation.

Pandey KB, Rizvi SI. Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2009;2(5):270-278. doi:10.4161/oxim.2.5.9498