A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition vouches for the power of polyphenols. Polyphenols have long been linked to a decreased risk for chronic illnesses like cancer and diabetes, but researchers have only now put an estimate on reduced overall mortality. Apparently a diet high in polyphenols (at least 650 mg per day) lowers your risk of mortality by 30% compared to a daily diet of 500 mg or less of polyphenols.
Power Up with Polyphenols
Polyphenols are antioxidant chemicals that impart color, flavor, and therapeutic properties to fruits, vegetables, legumes, and beverages like coffee and tea. A diet high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols has been shown to strengthen the immune system, protect against allergies and cognitive decline, and help prevent cardiovascular illness. Polyphenols not only inhibit dangerous blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes, but also increase the availability of nitric oxide, thereby protecting the endothelial cell layer and preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that causes atherosclerosis, a precursor of heart disease. Polyphenols even guard against cancer by suppressing the activity of enzymes necessary for cancer cell growth!
Researchers used a nutritional marker, along with the standard food questionnaire, to measure the effectiveness of polyphenols on health and longevity. As part of a 12-year follow-up study of 807 men and women ages 65 years and above, researchers measured total urinary polyphenol concentration (TUP) and found that the odds of living longer were significantly higher for those that ate a diet high in polyphenols. According to Professor Cristina Andrés Lacueva, head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group of the UB and coordinator of the study, “Nutritional biomarkers take into account bioavailabity and individual differences. This methodology makes a more reliable and accurate evaluation of the association between food intake and mortality or disease risk.”
The Verdict: 5-6 servings of polyphenols a day will decrease your risk of death by 30%!
Don’t worry, there’s plenty of variety to be had when it comes to polyphenols. Choose from the following polyphenol-packed foods and beverages to ensure optimal health and wellness:
- Black olives
- Dark chocolate
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Sweet potatoes
- Red wine
- Red onion