A study recently published in medical journals points to the power of polyphenols in the fight against the Covid-19 virus. State of emergency or not, it’s time to get acquainted with these powerful compounds and the ways in which they can help us build a strong immune system.
What are polyphenols?
Polyphenols are micronutrients found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, plants and spices. They are the most powerful natural antioxidants, components that give fruits and vegetables a colorful color and a slightly pungent taste, but also much more important than that – strength. Polyphenols protect and strengthen plants in the fight against harsh circumstances such as strong UV radiation, persistent insects and extreme weather conditions. This vital role in plant survival is key to understanding the effects of polyphenols on our defense system.
Why are they important for our health?
If we understand polyphenols as the secret weapon of plants, then it becomes clear to us why they are so beneficial for our health. What makes them a perfect shield for plants, can also make them a protector of our organism and help build-up our immune system.
In addition to the immune system, increasing research shows that polyphenols play an important role in the metabolism, maintaining a healthy weight, recovering from inflammation, improving mood and preventing and treating chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders and even cancer.
Because they are powerful natural antioxidants, polyphenols help us fight free radicals, the main enemies of each of our cells and the culprits for their decomposition, weakening and aging.
How can we get enough of them?
Now that it is clear what they are and why they are important, the question remains how to ingest them in the right amount. By doing a quick search for polyphenols on the Internet, you will come across a long list of foods. It will almost certainly include: chokeberry, blueberry, grapes, spinach, green tea, red wine, cocoa, flax and many others. However, while it is certainly best to ingest polyphenols in a healthy, balanced diet, this often turns out to be an impossible mission. Why is that?
First of all, the best sources of polyphenols depend on which test you use to determine the amount (ORAC, FRAP, Folin etc). There is no universal consensus on the exact list, but there are foods that are highly positioned on every test. We will take one such example – chokeberry, a powerful berry whose immunomodulatory effects have been proven.
So, you have decided to increase your intake of polyphenols through chokeberries and you already encounter the first obstacle: not all chokeberries are born the same. If you remember the beginning of the story about polyphenols as a secret weapon of plants against the cruelty of nature, it is clear that the amount of polyphenols depends on the growing conditions. Due to the harsh winter in which it has to survive, Siberian chokeberry has the highest concentration of polyphenols, while other species lag behind it.
The next test is regarding the stage of maturity in which the chokeberry is harvested, how it is stored and transported, which are all factors that can significantly reduce the amount of these antioxidants. After that, the next challenge concerns the method of processing – for example, thermally processed fruit has a lower concentration. And finally, even if you have fulfilled all the previous conditions, during the process of digestion of food, our organism cannot digest all plant structures (for example, the skin of fruits and vegetables) in order to release the polyphenols they contain. As you can see, there are many reasons why these important substances remain unused in the end.
This is evidenced by the fact that, even in highly developed countries such as the EU members states or the USA, the intake of polyphenols is below the recommended daily dose of 400 to 1000 mg.
Is there a magic elixir?
Fortunately, science says yes. Extracts are increasingly proving to be a kind of elixir and for us the best sources of natural antioxidants for now. They contain polyphenols that are extracted directly from the fruit, released and secured, maximally bioavailable, so that they are easily digested and even easier to absorb.
Recent studies have confirmed the amazing effect that continuous intake of such a safe, extracted dose of polyphenols has on the long-term development of the immune system. Their strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action is increasingly proving to be a key ally in the fight against viruses and infections, hence the thesis that they can find a role in strengthening the body at a time of greater risk of disease. The cells of our immune system already have receptors ready to recognize and receive polyphenols and thus trigger immune responses. We just have to provide the body with the right amount.
Nature often hides its power in the most hidden places. It is up to us to learn how to take and use those gifts. This is exactly what we managed not so long ago with the innovative concentrated Siberian chokeberry extract and the A-lixir 400 Protect product. Read more about it.