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How Polyphenols Heal Your Gut

By Stacey Shapiro October 11, 2021

How Polyphenols Heal Your Gut

**Article Supplied by ATP Science

Summer foods are full of Polyphenols

Summer is around the corner, the time of year that we move away from our sleepy hollow of winter lounging, winter eating and shed the layers of clothes to feel cooler. This change in season is good for the mind, body, and guts! We had to make it sound dreamy and luxurious until the end…

Summer seasonal variations of foods are incredibly rich in colour which means antioxidants, and it also means we get a nice big hit of polyphenols from these foods too!

What are Polyphenols?

Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds in foods that act as protective mechanisms to pests and opportunistic bugs who like to take advantage of that sweet juicy sugar that lies on the other side of that bitter, tart, dry outer layer. Polyphenols reside in those plants first-line defence systems most often found in the skins, pith and seeds of fruits and vegetables we consume. Funnily enough, like the opportunistic pests, we also tend to not like how these areas of the food taste and we often quickly discard them.

Think about it; we peel the skins of our apples, we throw away the seeds of our avocados, the piths of pomegranates because they feel inedible and or too bitter to eat. The phenolic compounds that reside in these areas of the foods that we eat are extremely beneficial, especially for our gut health!

How do they help humans?

Polyphenols are the most abundant form of antioxidants in the human diet, they come as part and parcel with fruits and veggies. We consume them and our microbiota, the little critters in our gut help to breakdown and utilise them, which has been shown in recent studies to have far-reaching effects on various aspects of our health, some such as:

  • Rich antioxidant foods have a profound anti-inflammatory effect on us. 
  • Improve digestion. 
  • Naturally occurring antimicrobial benefits. 

    These compounds in the past have been a confusing concept because many suggested they had little to no effect on the host consuming them, this was because the measurement used was bioavailability. Bioavailability is used to measure how a substance is transferred throughout the body; what portion of a drug enters the body’s circulation once introduced to the body. Polyphenols work similarly to dietary fibre; they are utilised by the gut microbiota and from that the metabolites have beneficial effects on the system. 

    Where can you find them?

    Well, we are heading from spring into summer in the blink of an eye so, you will want to shift your shopping list over for more of these varieties.

    Fruits: Apple, Cherry, Lychee, Banana, Lemon, Strawberries, Watermelon, Avocado, Grapefruit, Blackberries, Raspberries, Mangos, Grapes

    Veggies: Cabbage, Asian greens, Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, Zucchini, Spinach, Cauliflower, Celery, Onion, Carrot, Capsicum

    Herbs: Basil, Chilli, Garlic, Coriander (it’s delicious, don’t hate on it), Ginger, Mint, Lemongrass, Sage, Rosemary

    Of course, it’s easy to say always have all of these in your diet, in reality, you can’t carry around a bowl of fruit and veg everywhere you go! Although, those fruit salad hats are very stylish with some maracas… If you were to look across the range of products we make, food is at the basis of what we do and the saying that nature knows best.

    So, if you are looking to fill in any gaps that might be there in your diet or top up on phytonutrients/naturally occurring micro compounds; looking at a product for instance like Gutright that has over 20+ sources of various plants for example are a tasty way to get them in. Being able to add a scoop daily to a glass of water in the morning or a bottle of water to sip on throughout the day makes it a convenient way to stack on top of your daily diet.

    To find out more on how these compounds in nature work, make sure you check out The ATP Project on iTunes/Spotify or subscribe to the ATP Science channel on YouTube to see the guys break down gut health information in detail.  We recommend staring with episode 290 – The Gut Health Practitioners Guide.

     Shop the ATP Science Range Here!

     References:

    1. Augustin Scalbert, Ian T Johnson, Mike Saltmarsh, Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 81, Issue 1, January 2005, Pages 215S–217S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/81.1.215S
    2. Kumar Singh, A., Cabral, C., Kumar, R., Ganguly, R., Kumar Rana, H., Gupta, A., Rosaria Lauro, M., Carbone, C., Reis, F., & Pandey, A. K. (2019). Beneficial Effects of Dietary Polyphenols on Gut Microbiota and Strategies to Improve Delivery Efficiency. Nutrients11(9), 2216. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11092216
    3. Bioavailability of Dietary Polyphenols and Gut Microbiota Metabolism: Antimicrobial Properties. Laura Marín Volume 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/905215
    4. Scalbert A, Manach C, Morand C, Rémésy C, Jiménez L. Dietary polyphenols and the prevention of diseases. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr (in press).
    5. Moskaug JØ, Carlsen H, Myhrstad MCW, Blomhoff R. Polyphenols and glutathione synthesis regulation. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81(suppl):277S–83S.

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