Strengthen your immune system with carbohydrates and polyphenols

With the rise in popularity of high protein and fat diets, many Americans have lost sight of the health benefits of high carbohydrate foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. While carbohydrates serve many purposes in the body including fueling the brain, they also contain compounds called polyphenols which have been shown to decrease inflammation, strengthen our immune system, and even decrease the infectivity of certain viruses.

Polyphenols can be categorized into 4 groups: flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and ligans. While many plant based foods contain polyphenols, some of the highest amounts can be found in blueberries, blackberries, plums, apples, artichokes, onion, spinach, black beans, soy beans, flax seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts. These compounds can also be found in seasonings like tumeric, cloves, cinnamon, peppermint, and star anise, as well as red wine, green tea, and dark chocolate.

So why not just take a supplement? Like many other micronutrient supplements, the absorption is decreased and risk of side effects is increased when taking isolated polyphenols. The most effective way to experience the benefits of these compounds is to incorporate these and other plant based foods into your regular diet. In addition, these foods are colorful and delicious, and make a wonderful addition to any meal!

Polyphenol Superfood Salad

  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • ⅓ cup shelled edamame
  • ⅓ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup chopped red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped red onions
  • ¼ avocado
  • 2 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  • Ground cinnamon to taste
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!

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