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What are Polyphenols?

Polyphenols are found in all fruits, vegetables, legumes and seeds. They are antioxidants which means they help reverse the problems caused by oxidative stress, create a healthy environment for the heart and help reduce chronic pain associated with inflammation.

Although we in our infancy in terms of understanding polyphenols, it is thought there are over 8,000, many of which carry different health properties. This has led researchers to try and find which are the best polyphenols. For example, Quercetin is a polyphenol found in green tea and citrus fruits, which is thought to alleviate allergies.

Marketing companies have leapt at the chance to tout various foods as providing health benefits due to their polyphenol content. Chocolate is a great example to show why you need to be cautious here! Chocolate contains a polyphenol called catechins BUT it also contains a huge amount of sugar and very few vitamins and minerals that provide any great benefit to your health. The point here is don’t trust packaged foods to deliver your polyphenols. Reach for fresh fruit, vegetables and polyphenol-rich legumes instead – and the more the merrier.

Cherries, berries and dark plums are the best choices because they hold the highest concentrations of polyphenols. Grapes, pears, cranberries and apples are also great sources of polyphenols. When it comes to vegetables, potatoes, rhubarb, broccoli, cabbages, celery, parsley and onions have moderate to high amounts of polyphenols. In general, you should choose vegetables with the brightest colors, and try to include as many different colors in your diet as possible