Many of the foods you eat are loaded with polyphenols: plant-based compounds that are anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-infection. Polyphenols are considered non-nutritional, meaning that they help prevent disease and keep you healthy in a different way than vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
David Nieman, DrPH, director of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC), explains that polyphenols are a type of phytochemical, the colorful chemicals in plants that confer a variety of health benefits. “In many fruits and vegetables, all the colors that you see are the polyphenols,” he says. “That’s what you want, a lot of color in your diet.”
Color is Key
As part of a study, Nieman compiled a list of the top 40 foods that are the richest sources of polyphenols. Not surprisingly, multiple types of berries make up the largest percentage of the list. This is largely due to polyphenols being in the skin or outer layer area of the fruit, where they provide color and natural protection from radiation, sun exposure, and pathogens.
Credit: Courtney Davis, Spectrum News