By now, it’s no secret that beauty comes from within—and for women concerned with aging gracefully, our diets can either boost or bust how we feel and look for years to come. The reason? It comes down to one thing: polyphenols benefits for health.
You see, certain foods are known to support healthy blood sugar levels, cool inflammation, support healthy cholesterol levels, fight fat storage, improve digestion, aid brain health, and support healthy and smooth-looking skin. And these foods all have one thing in common: They’re rich in polyphenols—plant-based natural antioxidant compounds known to support health and wellbeing.
So, let’s discuss what polyphenols are, how they work, the many polyphenols benefits for health, and how you can get more of them into your daily diet through the top polyphenols foods.
What Are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are ring-shaped natural antioxidant compounds found in plants that work to protect them from outside forces such as UV light, microbes, and pests. Polyphenols benefits for plants encompass their beauty as well, as they’re also known to contribute to the vibrant colors we see in nature.
Interestingly, the polyphenols benefits extend beyond those provided to the plant. When we consume plant-based foods, polyphenols function as antioxidants known to support internal health by naturally counteracting harmful inflammation that accelerates the aging process. In fact, they are so powerful that I often refer to them as “powerphenols” and have even gone so far as to call polyphenols “a life insurance policy you can eat.”
Let’s look at some of the top polyphenols benefits for your health and then discuss which foods have the highest polyphenols.
4 Incredible Polyphenols Benefits for Health
Here are four of the top ways polyphenols can benefit your body and overall health.
1. Help trigger autophagy
As you may recall, autophagy is the cellular self-cleansing process that takes place within your body that removes toxic waste from your cells and allows them to repair and renew. This “housekeeping” process is necessary for optimal function and provides a healthy body from the inside-out.
Now, as we age, autophagy naturally slows, contributing to the visible signs of aging. But research has shown that when we eat polyphenols, these health-promoting compounds actually trigger autophagy and repair cellular damage. With less damaged cells, we are less likely to create an internal environment known to lead to health issues and premature aging.
2. Fight harmful inflammation
Research has shown that consuming polyphenols benefits your overall health by cooling inflammation. This is largely due to the fact that polyphenols are filled with the antioxidants known to lower inflammation-causing oxidative stress and free radicals. Additionally, due to its ability to activate autophagy, polyphenols are known to help regulate the cellular activity in inflammatory cells, therefore inhibiting excessive inflammation and resulting damage, especially to your collagen production—a key indicator of polyphenols benefits for skin.
3. Support cardiovascular health
Another one of the top polyphenols benefits for your health is that these compounds are known to support heart health. In fact, research has revealed that consuming foods high in polyphenols can suppress the risk of cardiovascular problems by more than 30 percent. Interestingly, studies have shown that the effectiveness of the antioxidants in polyphenols on vascular function primarily depends on the bioavailability of the nitric oxide synthase in polyphenols.
4. Support healthy blood sugar levels
Finally, research has shown that the antioxidant power in polyphenols benefits healthy blood sugar levels as well. Scientists believe this is due to the fact that polyphenols have the potential to not only suppress glucose release from the liver but also suppress glucose uptake and improve insulin sensitivity. Meanwhile, other research has shown that increased intake of polyphenols is associated with a lower risk of developing blood sugar issues, though more research is required to confirm these results.
Top Polyphenols Foods and Herbs
By now, you probably know that fruits and vegetables contain special compounds and properties that boost health. While I knew that, too, my interest deepened when I discovered that foods high in polyphenols are linked to a healthy lifespan—a realization that occurred while enjoying a glass of polyphenol-rich red wine.
Afterward, I traveled to Italy to meet with Dr. Elizabeth Janda ,an expert researcher who has spent her career studying polyphenols benefits for health. In our conversations, I learned that there is a plentiful polyphenols food list we can consume regularly to support health and a youthful glow. And the best part? These foods are decadent and delicious!
So, what are the best polyphenol-rich foods? The best way to get polyphenols in your diet is by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices, including berries, red grapes, flax, cocoa, red wine, onions, spinach, olives, coffee, tea, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and many more.
But there are other effective ways to consume more polyphenols—in the form of supplements. In fact, I’ve found that there are five incredible supplements rich in polyphenols that have exceptional potential for activating autophagy and promoting health from the inside-out. Let’s take a closer look at each and how they work.
5 Best Polyphenols Supplements
Together with my team of scientists and researchers, I’ve discovered that daily use of EGCG, berberine, citrus bergamot, curcumin, and trans-resveratrol can be included in your daily diet for a big payoff. Here’s how each works.
Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is the polyphenol found in green tea and known for its ability to enhance longevity, burn calories, help provide cellular protection, and support brain and heart health through its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To take full advantage of these polyphenols benefits, drink green tea daily and take 300 mg of this polyphenols supplement twice daily.
Traditionally an Ayurvedic medicine, berberine is one of my top polyphenols because of its ability to produce biological effects similar to that of exercise. In addition to its fat burning properties, berberine is a powerful polyphenol because of its positive impact on gut health, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Because food sources are limited, it is best to get berberine in supplement form. Research has shown that taking 500 mg after meals supports healthy blood sugar levels.
3. Citrus bergamot
Dr. Janda first opened my eyes to the polyphenols benefits of citrus bergamot. A small sour fruit with a hint of sweetness grown in beautiful sun-drenched slopes of Calabria, this superfruit offers incredible benefits known to support healthy cholesterol levels and overall heart health. The pith contains the concentrated polyphenols, so it’s important to get the whole fruit extract to reap the benefits. When sourcing a citrus bergamot supplement, make sure to choose one that contains 500 mg of bergamot and a full spectrum source that is standardized for key polyphenols.
One of my favorite polyphenols comes from turmeric, the bright yellow phytonutrient that gives Indian and Asian dishes its beautiful color in curry dishes. A potent inflammation-cooling antioxidant shown to help with conditions such as joint aches, curcumin can also boost mood, support healthy blood sugar levels, and promote heart health. In addition to adding curry or turmeric powder to your scrambled eggs in the morning, I recommend supplementing with high-quality turmeric for optimal benefit. Studies show that taking 500 mg with breakfast and dinner is most effective. Be sure to select a turmeric supplement that is 95 percent standardized extract and enhanced with black pepper exact to improve absorption.
Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant found in red wine that has been shown to increase healthspan, and it’s at the heart of the French Paradox— the irony that the French people seem to thrive in health despite a diet of fatty (and delicious) foods. While it’s found naturally in dozens of plants, including berries, grapes, cocoa, and more, its bioavailability is low because it’s metabolized and eliminated quite quickly. Therefore, consider taking a trans-resveratrol supplement for maximum benefit.
- Women looking to boost longevity and support beauty from the inside-out should consume foods high in polyphenols—plant-based chemical compounds known to support health and wellbeing.
- Polyphenols benefits for health include activating autophagy, cooling inflammation, and supporting both cardiovascular health and blood sugar levels.
- Eating a diet rich in polyphenols, which are found in foods such as cocoa, berries, certain herbs, red wine, spinach, and more, is critical for overall health. But to get maximum benefit, consider supplementing with EGCG, berberine, citrus bergamot, curcumin, and resveratrol.