We all sing the praises of antioxidants, but have you heard about their fellow free radical fighting compound polyphenols? When incorporated into our diets and skin care regimens, polyphenols can have equally potent results that you’d expect from antioxidants.
We were eager to learn more about these underrated micronutrients – where do they come from? Why are they important? We’ll tell you exactly what polyphenols are, tally their benefits, and discover how to sneak more of them into your daily beauty routine.
What are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are unique chemical compounds found only in plants. They’re most recognizably known as the key ingredient in wine, resveratrol, which is known for its anti-aging benefits. While these micronutrients are not necessarily considered antioxidants, they act similarly by neutralizing free radicals – harmful chemical and environmental compounds that damage our skin.
These properties allow polyphenols to protect you from free radicals brought on by pollution, UV rays, and other environmental factors – but their benefits don’t end there!
What Are Their Benefits?
Polyphenols are packed with an abundance of benefits, in addition to their protective and anti-aging properties. For instance, it’s believed that polyphenols can aid in digestion, improve cardiovascular function, and even lower one’s chance of neurodegenerative diseases.
Eating polyphenol-rich foods can help defend your bodily systems against free radical damage, thus lowering your risk for illnesses. Some serious illnesses that are exacerbated by long-term free radical exposure are Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer.
Where Are Polyphenols Found?
Polyphenols are found only in plants. They play a crucial role in plant growth, by protecting fruits and vegetables from the harsh sunlight as they reach maturity.
While polyphenols can be taken in the form of supplemental tablets, it’s recommended that individuals acquire them through their daily food intake. High concentrations of these supplements have been connected with unwanted side effects, like limiting your body’s ability to absorb iron.
Polyphenols in Your Diet
You can ensure an increase in polyphenols in your diet simply by eating more leafy greens and fiber-rich fruits, although some foods contain more polyphenols than others. The following foods are especially high in beneficial polyphenols:
Dark chocolate has long been purported as an excellent source of antioxidants, and it does indeed feature polyphenols as a star ingredient. While milk chocolate is little more than a tasty indulgence, the higher percentage of cacao found in dark (bitter) chocolate allows this grown-up dessert to help keep your weight regulated and your skin youthful.
While all berries contain impressive levels of polyphenols, blueberries are said to contain the highest concentrations. Moreover, blueberries are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese, earning its title as a true superfood.
Believe it or not, cloves are actually the plants which contain the highest concentration of polyphenols! While cloves aren’t typically eaten in such high amounts at a time, every 100 grams of this cooking spice can get you 15 grams of polyphenols! Cloves are deliciously spicy and nutty when cooked whole, which is the best way to maximize your polyphenol intake when eating them.
Green tea contains a wide variety of specific polyphenols, especially epigallocatechin gallate ( eppo-gallih-cat-ickan gal-lit) – commonly known as EGCG. This superstar polyphenol is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as a capacity to help with weight management. In addition to its numerous other polyphenols, flavonoids and tannins, green tea is an extremely beneficial beverage for a healthier lifestyle.
While most people enjoy a cooling glass of chardonnay or pinot grigio, they won’t give you the antioxidant boost found in red wine. That’s because pinot noir, cabernet, merlot and other red wines get their color from the skin of red wine grapes. The skins of red wine grapes contain a high concentration of resveratrol which is, you guessed it: a polyphenol.
Polyphenols in Your Skin Care Routine
While digesting your fill of antioxidant-rich foods can be highly beneficial to your immune system, applying polyphenols topically can act as a natural form of protection against sun damage. Additionally, polyphenols can also even reverse the effects of aging, like dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles.
Polyphenols have made their way as an essential anti-aging ingredient along with retinol, vitamin C, and hydroxy acids. At Puristry, we’ve incorporated polyphenols in some of our favorite products for firming and anti-aging – check out the details below!
Alongside rosehip oil, green tea plays a powerful role in this facial oil. This polyphenol-rich ingredient assists anti-inflammatory pomegranate in calming irritation, as lavender oil further soothes the skin. These plant-based and organic ingredients work in harmony to fight the free radicals in your skin, while also relieving inflammation and reintroducing moisture to the skin’s surface.
In addition to antioxidant-rich grape seed extract, our firming, this renewing serum also contains resveratrol: the polyphenol responsible for red wine’s anti-aging properties.
Polyphenols are the secret power behind some of the most powerful anti-aging products on the market, and can be surprisingly accessible. That being said, make sure that your daily intake of polyphenols isn’t just in your serum, but also in your diet – try incorporating plant-based foods into your meals each day to reap the rewards of a polyphenol-rich regimen.