Polyphenols Make Us Smile

September 21, 2017 by Lettuce Eat Real

This article is sponsored by Tom's of Maine

Polyphenols have generated quite the buzz over recent years - and for good reason. Abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and tea, these powerful antioxidants have been linked to the reduced risk of many harmful diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, and neurodegenerative disease.

Naturally occurring in plants, these micro-warriors act as an extension of the plant’s immune system, each plant housing its own unique polyphenol army. Consuming polyphenol-rich foods means passing these savvy little protectors on to you.

Whole-body benefits of polyphenols have now been widely recognized, but did you know that polyphenols also play a role in the prevention of tooth decay? Demonstrating antimicrobial activity, they can reduce the number of oral bacteria and even stop them from binding to the tooth’s surface.

Oatmeal with fruit

Evidence also suggests that high polyphenol intake can prevent periodontal disease. As potent antioxidants, they defend against oxidative stress and reduce gum inflammation. Impressive aren’t they?

But different polyphenols deliver different benefits, making it best to consume a variety of whole plant foods with unique types and amounts of polyphenols. So mix it up! Enjoy a cup of green tea, snack on fresh blackberries and strawberries, top your salad with hazelnuts or flax seeds. Throw a side of black beans, a few olives or a globe artichoke into your lunch. Our personal favorite? A bit of high quality dark chocolate.

Oral health, cavity prevention, reduced risk of cancer and periodontal disease add to the growing list of why we should continue filling up on colorful fruits and veggies. So put a smile on your face one strawberry at a time!

Some of our favorite high-polyphenol foods:Strawberries

  • Black Elderberries
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Hazelnuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Dark Chocolate