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Polyphenols and Fun Ways to Eat Them

You may have heard of polyphenols in recent years and some of their health benefits. They are found in fruits and vegetables and are responsible for the bright beautiful colors that are designed to make them more appealing. Polyphenols have several very important functions in the body. 1. Alkalizing: phenolic molecules are bases. They function to make your digestive system, and subsequently the rest of your body, more basic or alkaline. With many of our chronic disease states, our bodies are too acidic. When we eat carbohydrates, they create a more acidic environment because of the increased availability of sugars. Because of their polyphenol content, vegetables help to balance the body in the opposite direction. Fruits also contain polyphenols but will alkalize to a lesser extent because of their increased sugar content. 2. Polyphenols are food for good gut bacteria. Polyphenols help bacteria make the mucosal lining that prevents antinutrients in food to access our bloodstream from the small intestine. 3. A specific subset of polyphenols, called oligomeric proanthocyanidins or OPC’s, has been shown clinically to modulate brain waves to reduce ADHD symptoms. Isn’t that cool? Just about everyone could use more polyphenols in their diet. Eating the recommended 4 to 5 cups of fruits and veggies every day is a challenge for most humans. Freeze-dried superfood powders are a modern invention to help consumers meet their nutritional requirements. Such products heighten in importance when considering our modern food supply is nutrient depleted. When they first came out, 25 years ago, they were not very palatable. I remember one my mom had that tasted like you just juiced the front lawn. It was only a slight improvement from the alfalfa tablets that she touted as miracle pills in the early ’80s. I tried those pills a few times only to burp up alfalfa flavor for several hours after swallowing them. Not an enjoyable experience. Cattle must fair better, I figured. They always looked very content while chewing their cud. (I spent some time observing cattle on the farm where I grew up). I assumed that had something to do with their 3 additional stomachs. In recent years, the taste of these wonder foods has improved significantly. The number of nutrients packed into one serving of powder is also impressive. Many of these products report having 15 servings of fruits and vegetables per scoop. I carry a line of these products called Greens First in my clinic. Recently, I have had clients report back to me some ways they have incorporated these supplements into some enjoyable foods to boost their health. Greens First makes this powder in three flavors: original mint, berry, and chocolate. The easiest way to take this supplement is to mix a scoop of any flavor powder in 8 oz of water and enjoy it as a beverage. You can also include a scoop of the berry in your favorite yogurt and fruit smoothie. The chocolate can be included with chocolate protein powder, water, ice, half a banana, and a scoop of peanut butter for a protein shake. I have also used the chocolate with hot water, a teaspoon of Dutch-processed cocoa, 2 tablespoons of coconut milk to make a more nutritious hot chocolate. You can add a packet of stevia for more sweetener if needed. Clients have told me that you can freeze the hot chocolate mixture, place it in the blender and make a nutrient-rich chocolate “ice cream.” I have not tried it yet, but I think berry-flavored "ice cream" would be tasty as well. My overall goal in sharing this information with you today is to highlight yummy and healthy food choices that are a part of a path to healing. Vegetables and fruits are anti-inflammatory and are a significant component of a health-filled diet. When we decrease inflammation, we decrease pain in our joints and throughout our bodies. Call me today and learn more about what lifestyle choices you can incorporate to reclaim your health.

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