How Polyphenols Increase Microbial Diversity

PolyphenolsWe talk about polyphenols a lot here because Atrantil is made from three ingredients that are extremely high in polyphenols. 

Polyphenols are a big part of the reason that getting enough fruits and vegetables is so important. Polyphenols produce your body with tons of health benefits ranging from anti-aging to cardioprotective to immune function. 

But what you may not have known — since we never really stated it flat out — is that polyphenols actually increase your microbial diversity

That’s a big deal for your overall health but especially for your gut health. If you suffer from IBS or other gastrointestinal disorders, you know this to be true. 

We as a society have been under the impression that the only way to increase microbial diversity is by adding more bacteria to our gut via probiotics. But actually, this isn’t functional for everyone, specifically those who are immunocompromised. 

There are other (safer and more efficient) ways to improve bacterial diversity, and one of those ways is by eating more polyphenols. 

Why Eating Polyphenols Matters

Polyphenols are plant-derived molecules. They’re broken down into many categories, each with their own unique benefit to your body. 

Polyphenols — as mentioned above — can help your body to fight aging and disease by boosting your immunity and body systems. How this happens though is just being clarified and is still a little bit of a mystery. 

One of the main ways they do this is by their antioxidant capabilities. Everyday life exposes us to a plethora of reactive oxygen species (ROS). 

These can be necessarily produced within our bodies as results of other systemic reactions, like exercising(positive result). But they can also be a result of environmental factors like pollution(negative result).

A build-up of ROS within our bodies creates an imbalance if we aren’t getting enough antioxidants. By eating polyphenols we are able to create a better balance by offering our body different types of antioxidants to help us remain healthy.

Polyphenols also help to maintain homeostasis during seasonal changes. Your body was created to function in particular ways during different cycles. The time changes mean your body naturally has more or less energy based on the period of time that the sun is out.

The current world doesn’t allow for longer sleeping periods during darker seasons (unfortunately). But one study found that eating polyphenols can help to put your body back into balance during the time periods of decreased light availability.

Your Gut Microbiome and Polyphenols

Your gut microbiome is a complex place full of bacteria. These bacteria are what help our bodies to extract the most nutrition from our foods. 

Polyphenols and your microbiota work hand in hand by manipulating each other. 

You see, a lot of your foods are broken down by enzymes, but there are special foods called non-soluble fibers that are a little harder to digest. These foods are extremely important to your health. 

This is where your gut bacteria come in.

Your gut bacteria ferment the non-soluble fibers allowing them a longer period of time to hang out in your gut. This slower breakdown allows for more nutrients to be extracted and absorbed. 

The fermentation process is like a special access code that lets you extract all the secret locked up information. Fermentation also feeds your good gut bacteria because polyphenols have prebiotic effects on them. 

When your good gut bacteria are well fed, they’re able to reproduce more good bacteria. 

The more good bacteria you have, the easier they fight off an imbalance of other types of bacteria, which may have adverse effects when in overabundance. 

This leads to an optimal balance of gut bacteria. 

This is really the goal of good health — a diverse range of microbes. 

Good diversity in gut bacteria means your bacteria can extract even more helpers from your food like short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). Sending SCFA throughout your system is like giving Popeye spinach. It makes everything perform even better. 

(There’s a good reason they gave Popeye spinach and not ice cream — it’s chock full of polyphenols!)


Polyphenol Problems

So it sounds pretty easy. Eat fruits and veggies and *bam!* you’re healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. There are some mitigating factors in this equation.

Bioavailability and bioaccessibility being the biggest issue here. 

Bioavailability means how much polyphenol content is naturally available in a particular food.

Bioaccessibility means how much of that content your body is actually able to use. So, bioaccessibility affects bioavailability along with several other factors.

While fruits and vegetables are packed to the brim with these special nutrients, you aren’t quite able to access them all. (Although researchers are constantly working at finding new ways to make that happen.)

However, there are some that are more readily available and that’s really what you need.

Fortunately, there are some great ways to increase the potential of getting as many polyphenols as possible.

Eat What’s in Season

This is going to be the biggest factor in how many polyphenols your body is able to get to improve microbial diversity.

Many studies have been conducted on this topic and have all come out proving the same thing — that eating foods that are in season provide your body with more polyphenols than foods that are out of season.

When it comes to eating fresh foods it’s best to eat what normally grows during that time and eating those foods during their peak time of ripeness.

Harvest at Peak Ripeness and Store

Another study found that as long as fruits and vegetables were picked at their peak time, they still contained more polyphenols than eating that same fruit or vegetable out of season. 

So if you know you always end up craving peaches and you want to make sure you get the most out of them, get into the habit of canning them. 

Apple peel powder tended to be the most potent source of polyphenols out of season. 

So while most times it’s normally suggested to eat foods like berries and nuts that are high in polyphenols, make sure it’s the right season for them. Eating them out of season won’t necessarily give you as many benefits as you’re seeking. 

Test out a new recipe with fresh fruits and vegetables that are at their prime and see if you notice a difference in energy and overall feelings of wellbeing. 

What’s your favorite source of polyphenols? How do you intend on adjusting your diet to the seasons? Let us know in the comments below!