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Polyphenols are seen as the essential elements for a healthier and longer life, but what are actually polyphenols? And why are they so healthy? 

There are nutrients in our food that we all know – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, certain vitamins and minerals, and so on. We especially know how many of those things we need to be healthy, and we know what foods to eat to stay healthy. 

But increasingly we hear less quantifiable nutrients. For a long time the best-known example was antioxidants: we know they are there and that they are good for us. But it is not that we are prescribed a certain recommended daily amount. 

Polyphenols are produced from plants and are known as the antioxidants. Polyphenols are plant substances, which are often found in fruits and leaves. The polyphenols contribute to a healthier body. Many scientists are involved in research for example; the reduction and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. “If you eat polyphenols, your intestine will turn into active antioxidants”, at least Steven R. Gundry, MD, the medical director and founder of the centers for restorative medicine in Palm, Springs and Santa Barbara, CA. 

Steven R. Gundry says that “polyphenols can slow the cellular aging process and improve heart health by making your blood vessels more flexible and the lining less sticky”. The benefits of a stronger heart can in turn translate into better sports performances, adds Gundry. In a recent survey of 14 studies, researchers discovered that polyphenols increased athletic sport performance by up to 3 percent. 

But where do you start with Polyphenols? To begin with, the nutrients are found in dark fruit, berries, olive oil, dark chocolate, coffee and tea. But the following strategies can ensure that you can use the full benefits. 

Drink your tea black. “Milk binds to polyphenols and makes them inactive,” warns Gundry. He recommends exchanging coconut milk for regular milk in your coffee or tea. Also smart: choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. 

Go wild. Gundry proposes to pick as many wild berries as possible. They contain many polyphenols without being rich in sugars, which cannot always be said of other berries that you see in the store. “Modern fruits and berries are bred for the sugar content,” says Gundry. Many supermarkets sell frozen wild berries, but if you cannot find any products in your area, Gundry recommends trying supplements like grape seed extract or pine bark extract to get a dose of extra strong polyphenols.