Poly-what?? Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get mainly from plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, chocolate, herbs and spices. They are the reason why red wine, dark chocolate and green tea are known to be so good for us. It’s thought that polyphenols can improve or help many aspects of health, including IBS, weight management, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease and cardiovascular diseases.
Eat a rainbow of polyphenols
It’s important to include as many food-based polyphenols in your diet as possible, by eating a wide range of different plants. This is just one of the reasons we recommend eating at least 5 portions of vegetables every day, in addition to fruit, wholegrains, pulses, nuts and seeds. The different colours in plants arise from different polyphenols. Eating a rainbow of different coloured plant foods is one of the best ways to increase polyphenol intake.
Mix it up
Us humans are creatures of habit and we often find in clinic that even patients eating lots of veg tend to eat the same 8 – 10 day in, day out. And for 90% of us, you can bet that carrots, broccoli and peas will feature on the top 10 list. This may mean a lack of potential polyphenols. For us, helping people to eat as wide a variety of foods as possible in key to supporting many aspects of health. For optimal nutritional value and for sustainability, we should be eating seasonal fruit and veg and luckily at this time of year, we are spoiled for choice.
Bacteria love polyphenols
It’s worth checking the diversity of your own diet, to make sure you are getting enough of a variety of different plant-based foods. This is particularly important if you have any digestive issues. Eating a wide variety of polyphenol-rich foods helps to support a healthy and diverse microbiome, in it’s turn supporting our gut, immune and even our brain health. One of the main recommendations with patients where GI Ecologix test results show low levels of beneficial bacteria or insufficient diversity, is to increase their polyphenol intake.
Track your plants!
Try keeping a food diary for 3 days and then reviewing this and counting the number of plant-based foods you eat. Or use our diversity chart to challenge yourself to eat at least 40 plant-based foods in one week. Remember that different grains, beans, seeds, nuts, herbs and spices count too. It’s also a great way to encourage others in your house to increase their veg and fruit intake. Nothing like a bit of a competition …… The current record to beat is 78 plant-based foods in one week. If you manage to beat this, please send us in your diversity chart!
Get off to a good start with our polyphenol rich menu, providing 25 + plant-based foods in one day alone.
|Breakfast||Overnight oats (porridge oats soaked overnight in water or plant-based milk) with natural or coconut yoghurt, toasted coconut or almond flakes, raspberries and cacao nibs|
|Lunch||Quinoa salad with radish, celery, cucumber, spring onion, pomegranate, rocket, grated carrot, fresh mint, coriander and parsley, toasted pumpkin seeds and feta / lentils / mackerel with a lemon and extra virgin olive oil dressing. Make ahead and use for 2 days|
|Dinner||Golden chickpea and spinach stew with brown basmati rice or roast sweet potato wedges|
|Snack||2 rice cakes with 1/2 avocado and polyphenol pesto|
|To drink||1 mug of green tea, 1 coffee, lots of water|
If you would like nutritional support, or advice about testing, call us on 01 4020777 or book online now.