Polyphenols: What Are They?

As mentioned in my last post about brain health, polyphenols are brightly colored antioxidants found in plants we consume like blueberries, raspberries, green tea, red cabbage, coffee, dark chocolate, and many spices. These plant compounds (about 8,000 of them) help to fight aging and inflammation in the body. Eating a wide variety of polyphenols is key in order to support your heart, gut, and brain, among other things. So “eating the rainbow” is not a “if I find the time” kind of option. 

When you are eating an array of polyphenols every day, it can benefit your health on many levels. Of course, knowing that we are all unique individuals with specific requirements and sensitivities, you should always see which foods work better for you and buy accordingly.

Polyphenols Health Benefits

Consuming many types of vegetables and fruits, ideally organic and/or local, can be very rewarding. Eating delicious colorful meals every day is uplifting and beneficial in more than one way. Here are the main health benefits polyphenols are known for:

  • Whole-body health: Polyphenols like curcumin can help tamping down pain and inflammation. They help to deal with the effects of free radicals (unstable molecules that create stress and aging in the body) and aid with decreasing inflammation.
  • Heart health: High polyphenol intake helps lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease, with a lower LDL and higher HDL and it possibly lowers blood pressure too.
  • Metabolic health: High polyphenol intake may help decrease blood sugar spikes and better insulin sensitivity, so this lessens type 2 diabetes risk.
  • Gut health: Polyphenol-rich plants like green tea can help feed the good bacteria in the gut, polyphenols being in this case “a super-charged prebiotic.”
  • Brain health: As mentioned in my previous post, polyphenols help shield the brain from stress and free radical damage while aiding with bettering learning and memory. When it comes to slowing down brain aging, along with several other strategies, unprocessed polyphenol-rich foods help maintain high BDNF levels.

Examples of Polyphenol-Rich Foods

Here’s a short list of polyphenol-rich foods. Some plants contain more polys than others. Start with your favorites and maybe add a few more progressively. The more variety, the better.

How many of these are you already consuming regularly? 

Until next time!


Lipman, Dr Frank. “6 Ways Polyphenols Will Make Your Health Soar.” Frank Lipman


health-soar/. Accessed 12 Mar. 2022.

“Polyphenols: What They Are, Why They Work, & How to Eat More of Them.” Dave 

Asprey, 23 Apr. 2019, daveasprey.com/polyphenols-220419/. Accessed 12 Mar. 2022.

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Brain Health

Brain health is essential to overall health. The brain is a “point of communication” that controls the body. Brain health has a direct impact on our thoughts, feelings, and movements. Nourishing the brain is paramount to maintaining proper health.

There is a group of foods that are proven to nourish the brain and help protect it from oxidative stress. These foods are like a premium fuel source for our brain. In a previous post, 10 Awesome Brain-Boosting Foods, I listed 10 nutrient-dense foods, full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help better our brain, mood, energy levels, and overall health. This time, the focus is going to be on 5 of those brain health foods: dark chocolate, nuts, fatty fish, turmeric, and green tea. I find myself consuming these almost every day!

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is good for focus and concentration. It can boost endorphin levels. The flavonoids in chocolate can help enhance memory and cognitive function by boosting blood flow to the brain. Go for at least 75% dark chocolate, organic and fair trade, if possible. My favorite is 90% dark chocolate (as I have to watch my blood sugar closely).


Likewise, eating nuts helps with memory and cognitive function. Nuts are loaded with brain-healthy fats including omega-3 fatty acids (in some) and nutrients like vitamin E, which are good against oxidative stress-related damage and cognitive decline. My favorites are pistachios, almonds, and walnuts. The latter offer quite a bit of omega-3 fatty acids.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish, with its high omega-3 fatty acid content, is beneficial to overall brain health, including memory and learning. It also helps to stave off cognitive decline. Omega-3 fatty acids help strengthen the brain cells’ membranes and the synaptic connections between neurons. Look for environmentally friendly, low-mercury, and wild-caught fish like sockeye salmon and sardines.


Turmeric (which has the active ingredient curcumin) helps with lowering inflammation, increasing antioxidant levels, enhancing the brain’s oxygen intake, and improving cognitive function. Turmeric is great in a vegetable dish, soup, or smoothie. I have also been taking a curcumin supplement for years now.

Green Tea

Green tea aids with enhancing brain health in numerous ways, such as: preventing cognitive decline and bettering memory, anxiety, focus, alertness, and task performance. Green tea has antioxidant qualities, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-tumorigenic effects, among other things. I love consuming green tea every afternoon.

So, which brain foods are your favorites?    

Until next time!


Seymour, Jacqueline. “Health Coach Tip – Eat Your Brain Healthy.” Frank Lipman MD, 17 Nov. 2021, drfranklipman.com/2021/11/17/health-coach-tips-eat-your-brain-healthy/. Accessed 25 Nov. 2021.

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How to Support Your Detox System 

There are two kinds of toxins that can accumulate in the body: endogenous toxins (the metabolic processes’ natural waste products) and exogenous toxins (like chemicals and heavy metals we are exposed to via the air, water, and food).

To “work up a good sweat” often (by exercising or using saunas, for example) is one way to get rid of toxins. Dry brushing the skin’s dead cells away helps the lymphatic system and it also helps the liver and kidneys, which are the body’s major detoxification organs.

But is also good to know that if you eat foods that are beneficial to the liver and kidneys (and avoid the foods that aren’t helping), you are participating in the detoxification process a little bit every day too.

Foods That Can Help With Detoxification

If you want to support your detox system, there are certain foods that can help you do that. Here’s a short list:

  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli (sprouts), cauliflower, cabbage, kale, arugula, collards, as those vegetables have compounds like sulforaphane that aids the liver’s detoxification process.
  • The allium foods, like garlic, onions, leeks, chives, scallions, and shallots, which are rich in phytonutrients (including sulfur).
  • Spices and herbs as they offer so many antioxidants (good against oxidative stress). They can also have detox properties, like rosemary, turmeric, ginger, etc.
  • Pomegranate and berries (with dark pigmented skins).
  • Green tea, rooibos tea, burdock tea, dandelion tea, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds, like Brazil nuts (for the selenium) and pumpkin seeds (for the zinc and selenium), ground-up black seeds and chia seeds, etc.
  • Artichokes, great for detoxification with the fiber they offer (among other things) because when toxins come out they have to be bound up and eliminated through the stool.

Sidenote: Toxins can be eliminated via the stool, urine, and sweat. Dr. Mark Hyman calls it the triple P: “poop, pee, perspire.”

In Summary

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” So eat the rainbow! We can benefit from so many nutrients when we eat whole foods every day. A wide array of foods can help with detoxification. Buy organic whenever you can (check the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists)!

Also, visit the EWG (Environmental Working Group) website to see which household cleaning products and personal care products are okay to use. Supporting our body’s detox system the best we can is an important part of maintaining our health and wellness.

Until next time!


Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, pp. 301-2.

“How To Optimize Your Body’s Detoxification System with Maggie Ward.” Dr. Mark Hyman, 26 Oct. 2020, drhyman.com/blog/2020/10/26/podcast-hc28/. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

Lipman, Frank M D. How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life. Houghton Mifflin, 2019, p. 178.

Ward, Maggie. “Top 5 Food Picks to Support Liver Detoxification.” UltraWellness Center, 22 July 2016, http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/2016/07/22/top-5-food-picks-to-support-liver-detoxification/. Accessed 14 Nov. 2020.

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Why green tea?

I have recently gotten into the habit of drinking green tea in the afternoon and thoroughly enjoy it! As we all know, green tea is a very healthy beverage to drink. Green tea has been consumed for approximately 5,000 years, first in China. Last year, I purchased the book, The Kaufmann Protocol: Why We Age and How to Stop it, which has a section on EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), the main component in green tea. What differentiates green tea from black tea and oolong tea is that green tea is not fermented. The plant’s (Camellia sinensis) leaves and buds are simply brewed. Dr. Sandra Kaufmann states: “Let’s answer the big question first. Can EGCG actually help you live longer? The answer is a resounding yes….”

Green tea’s health benefits

The above book mentions green tea’s known health benefits. Among others, it has: 

  • Antioxidant qualities
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Anti-tumorigenic effects
  • Weight loss effects (over time)

Also, green tea may help strengthen bones: “EGCG has an osteo-inductive effect on stem cells, meaning the cells are steered into making bone cells versus any other cell.”

And when it comes to the brain, consuming green tea helps with “learning and other brain activities…EGCG exerts protective effects against seemingly eventual age-related cognitive declines and neurodegenerative diseases.”

In summary

This is a precious beverage indeed! With all these health benefits no wonder people have been drinking green tea for centuries! A cup of tea has between 70 and 90 mg of EGCG. Right now, I consume an organic sencha green tea, but there are numerous other organic options. Matcha, a green tea in powder form, is one of them. And to get more of the benefits green tea has to offer, I also take one capsule of Thorne Green Tea Phytosome each day. (Of course, you want to check with your physician first if you decide to do the same). Maybe it’s a cup of green tea a day that keeps the doctor away. Who knows?


Kaufmann, Sandra, et al. The Kaufmann Protocol : Why We Age and How to Stop It. Kaufmann Anti-Aging Institute, 2018, p. 249-57.

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