By Staff Reports
(DGIwire) – There is now an abundance of research showing an association between the consumption of plant foods, especially fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, with increased health and longevity.
Most of these studies have been based on dietary questionnaires of study participants over a period of time and are prone to some inaccuracies and interpretation. There has also been the question of which particular nutrient or compound in these foods might be responsible for the observed benefits.
The development and use of nutritional biomarker tests provides a more precise and more objective estimate of intake because it is not based only on the participants’ memory. Nutritional biomarkers also take into account bioavailability and individual differences providing a more accurate evaluation of the association between food intake and mortality or disease risk.
Nutritional biomarker studies link a high polyphenol intake with a significant reduction in mortality in older adults.
“Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and whole grains. There are more than 8,000 different polyphenol compounds that have been identified in plants. These compounds have been shown to have an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effect. The evidence is suggesting that people consuming diets rich in these foods have a lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust.
Polyphenols help to prevent the damage of free radicals in the body and actively work in preventing certain disease mechanisms from occurring. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage arteries and cause other health problems. Because there are so many different types of polyphenols, eating a wide variety of foods will ensure you get the healthiest diet possible.
Griesel adds, “Blood levels of polyphenols peak soon after they are consumed and decrease as they are metabolized or excreted from the body. To maintain high levels of polyphenols, eat and drink polyphenol-rich foods throughout the day, every few hours.”
Refining foods removes polyphenols so you should focus on fresh or freshly cooked fruits, vegetables and legumes instead of refined foods. Moderate cooking or heating does usually not destroy polyphenol compounds and some cooked foods may offer a more bioavailable form of certain polyphenols.
By adding more of these tasty choices to your daily meals and snacks you can significantly increase your intake of these healthful compounds.