Q. Dear Terry, “I have been working on adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet, but it’s been hard. I travel a lot for work and have irregular work hours. I know I’m probably missing out on nutrients that my body needs. What do you recommend?”– Eric G., New York, NY
A. Dear Eric, Fruits and vegetables contain many beneficial compounds, including polyphenols. The name “polyphenols” is a broad term for many different healthy compounds. They are the natural compounds that give fruits, vegetables, rhizomes, roots, and flowering herbs their color and protect them from bacteria, insect damage, oxidative stress, and other threats.
In human diets, polyphenols act as anti-inflammatories, immune-boosters, and DNA-protectors – just to name a few of their attributes.
Ideally, our diets would include a lot of polyphenols with every meal. Experts estimate that we need at least 1,000 mg of polyphenols in our diets each day for optimal wellness. That’s why I think a supplemental regimen that includes consistent levels of standardized polyphenols is an excellent way to fill in any gaps that may be left behind by less-than-perfect diets.
A few of my favorite sources of polyphenols include: curcumin (from turmeric), oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs from French grape seed), propolis, apples, and green tea. These ingredients have wide-ranging health benefits for osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, heart disease, infection, weight management, cholesterol balance, and many others.
In my opinion, polyphenols are one of the best nutrients for a healthy aging process. I would take 500 mg of standardized polyphenols daily.
I also think you could benefit from a multivitamin and mineral formula. Believe it or not, mineral deficiencies are more common than vitamin deficiencies. You may want to look for a multivitamin that features chelated trace minerals. I prefer a multivitamin and mineral formula taken several times per day and includes vitamins and minerals in their most absorbable and active forms.
Terry . . . Naturally
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