The Benefits of Polyphenols for Exercise
You have probably heard or read something somewhere about polyphenols.
This article is to inform you about how polyphenols are able to benefit your workout.
Polyphenols are phytochemicals that can typically be found in most brightly colored, plant-derived foods.
Polyphenols are broken down into 10 or more different categories, but there are 4 that are the most commonly known:
- Phenolic Acids
Each part of a plant will have different levels of each polyphenol — leaves, fruits, barks, and roots can all be used to add polyphenols to your diet.
While juicing is a common way to get an abundance of your vital nutrients, it does end up making your polyphenol consumption lower.
This is because the skins and pulp of the fruits are usually excluded and they contain the highest levels of polyphenols.
‘Superfoods’ is a common term flying around these days.
If you look at the chemical structure of a majority of the foods coined ‘super’ you’ll see that they are all very high in polyphenolic content.
Some of the most commonly known include but are not limited to:
- Red wine
- Acai berries
- Dark Chocolate
How Polyphenols Can Benefit Your Workout
Being that there are so many different types of polyphenols, results will vary drastically from case to case.
Also, being that most of the research with polyphenols is fairly recent, no set guidelines for research models have been established.
However, there is a decent amount of information to prove that polyphenols can definitely enhance your workout.
Positive Effects Polyphenols Can Have On Exercise
- Better muscle health by decreasing muscle soreness post-workout
- Better oxygen uptake during and after exercise
- Strength enhancement
- Increase the body’s ability to scavenge free radicals which helps with reducing oxidative stress
Polyphenols for Muscle Health
When you exercise, your muscles are essentially tearing.
Micro tears in muscle fibers cause your muscles to become leaner and help them to grow.
However, when your muscles tear, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are released after your exercise. A buildup of these ROS are what cause you to feel soreness after a workout.
Polyphenols help reduce this soreness by scavenging the ROS that has been released.
Polyphenols for Oxygen Consumption (VO₂max)
VO₂max is your body’s capability of properly distributing oxygen to your muscles so they can perform at their best.
This also is an indicator of how healthy your heart and cardiovascular system are functioning.
A study was done on athletes and sedentary men to see if Vitamins C and E helped both groups the same way. It was found that both groups after the three-month study had increased VO₂max.
Another study was done on cyclists using a drink mix of green tea extract, quercetin (a subgroup of polyphenols), and a variety of vitamins increased performance by 3.4%.
Results from other studies indicate that long term use of polyphenol supplements at high doses aren’t as effective and that they may be less effective for those with a more sedentary lifestyle.
Studies using lychee fruit extract did not have a positive effect on VO₂max indicating that not all antioxidants and polyphenols can be treated equally when they are being used for sports performance.
Polyphenol Supplementation for Strength Training
Tart cherry juice extract seems to have the best effects when it comes to strength training.
When tested against a placebo, the participants who ingested the tart cherry juice extract were able to decrease the negative effects of muscle damage after strength training.
In addition to this, they were able to retain more muscle strength after a period of not training.
The placebo group lost 22% while the group consuming the extract only lost 4% of their muscle strength gained.
Increased Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC)
When you do hardcore exercises, your body has a harder time ridding itself of destructive and harmful oxygen radicals.
Polyphenols are able to do the opposite by increasing your body’s natural defense system of ORAC.
ORAC helps rid your body of the nasty oxygen radicals that can lead to oxidative stress and ultimately diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Exercise can actually create more oxygen radicals due to the damage to the muscles.
A study was done to see if the polyphenols contained in chokeberry juice would help to reduce the oxidative stress caused by exercise.
The results found that the juice helped to prevent damage done to red blood cells from exercise.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Polyphenol
To get your daily intake of polyphenols, you can start adding more fruits and vegetables that have high polyphenol content to your diet.
This would be the most natural and safest way for you to increase your polyphenol intake.
However, with the fast-paced lifestyle, most of us are living, that may not be completely feasible.
You can always choose the dietary supplement route.
Atrantil can be a beneficial life hack.
To get your daily intake of polyphenols you have to eat 4 cups of cherries, whereas you can take one dose of Atrantil to get the same benefit.
Dietary supplements are a great way to get your quota of polyphenols, but you must be wary of which supplements you are taking — some can actually be harmful.
You should always consult your primary care physician before adding any dietary supplement to your daily regimen.
Some products do not contain the ingredients they claim to and some are also not 100% natural, which is something to look at when choosing a supplement.
You don’t want to be consuming harmful chemicals that are disguised as ‘healthy’ polyphenol supplements. Products that carry the badge of honor from NSF International and are regarded as safe to use for athletes to use.
NSF International tests every lot of dietary supplements that are sent out to make sure that they contain exactly what the bottle claims are in their products.
They are backed by all of the professional athletics associations as safe for athletes to use to enhance their training.
Do you take any polyphenol supplements?
What ones have worked best for your workout?
Leave a comment below with your favorite way to get your daily amount of polyphenols! :)