You must have come across people advising you to use a lot of plant products as your food. Doctors advise patients to include brightly coloured fruit and vegetables in their diet plan. Have you ever wondered why? It is because they are excellent sources of polyphenols. So, what if they are rich in polyphenols? How does that affect your health? Need more explanation, right? Here is a short guide to understanding the benefits of foods high in polyphenols and low in lectins:
What Are Polyphenols?
From the name, we can guess that these chemicals have two or more phenol groups. The term also happens to include the chemicals that have a single phenol group.
Phenolic acids are one broad group of polyphenols that are present in red fruits, onions, black radishes, cereals, coffee and spices. These chemicals are plant-based and hence the advice for eating plants.
Another broad group is that of Flavonoids and includes several members that are present in different plants. These are:
- Isoflavones found in soy
- Anthocyanidins found in the various berries and wines
- Flavones present in herbs
- Flavonols found in tea, tomato and broccoli
- Flavanones present in citrus fruits
- Flavan-3-ols found in tea, cocoa and wine.
Then, there are some known ones, which are independent and not a part of any group, such as
- Resveratrol and Stilbenes present in wine and nuts
- Curcumin found in spices
- Lignans in flaxseeds.
Benefits of Polyphenols
Now that we have understood the sources of the various polyphenols, it is important that we understand the benefits they carry for our health. There are 5 main benefits that we can derive from the polyphenol-rich foods. These are:
- Lowering of cholesterol
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Improvement in artery (endothelial) functions
- Prevention of platelet clumping
- Improvement in arterial flexibility
All the above benefits result in a greater life span.
Supporting Scientific Evidences
Large number of studies have been conducted to help the researchers conclude that polyphenols are beneficial for the health in the ways mentioned above. The studies have helped collect evidences to show that stilbenes present in grapes and nuts and lignans from flax result in a longer lifespan. Healthier arteries result from raw vegetables and reduced fat intake
Foods High in Polyphenols and Low in Lectins
The top 10 Polyphenol rich foods are cloves, star anise, cocoa powder, dried Mexican oregano, celery seed, black chokeberry, dark chocolate, flaxseed meal, black elderberry and chestnuts. Some others notable ones are sage, rosemary, thyme, spearmint, curry, basil, strawberry and coffee
When they say, make food your medicines rather than making medicines your food, they are likely talking about these foods that can create a road to a healthy life. Foods high in polyphenols and low in lectins comprise of nuts, seeds, herbs, fruit and vegetables, which act like a pharmacy that helps to improve the chemistry of the body and take it from disease towards health and vitality.