Prepping with Polyphenols: 2020-2021 School Year
With school right around the corner and coronavirus still hot on our minds, this might be the most stressful school year yet. New school years are stressful enough without the added worry of a pandemic, but this year that is the battle for parents.
Fortunately, COVID-19 has been around for long enough that studies are becoming more robust. They’re exploring different medications and alternatives to fight this monster. While nothing has yet been 100% proven, a lot of things can help you to have a little more peace of mind.
Polyphenols are going to be your best friend this school year, and this article explains why.
What Are Polyphenols
Polyphenols are chemicals that we get from plants. They’re extremely beneficial to our bodies in so many different ways. But they all act on our bodies through the gut.
Some of the major polyphenols you’ll hear about in this article are
- Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) — commonly found in tea
- Resveratrol — found mostly in grapes and why wine is generally good for you
- Anthocyanins — often found in dark blue to black fruits and berries like elderberry, blueberry, and cocoa
- Flavonols — frequently found in apples and broccoli among many other fruits
Polyphenols can help our bodies with:
- Improving/maintaining energy levels
- Fighting oxidative stress
- Decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression
- Boosting the immune system while fighting viruses, bacteria, and infections
Polyphenols for Energy
The summer is always a nice break from strict schedules. Then school starts and it’s early mornings once again, meaning extra sluggishness and generally an increase in caffeine intake.
But you may want to consider swapping that extra cuppa joe for a bowl of fresh (in season) fruits or a smoothie.
Food is necessary and we know that, which is why we can justify eating whatever we want whenever we want it. But food is our main energy source, and certain foods are better for sustaining energy than others especially the type of food (carbs, sugars, fats, etc.)
However, when you eat, it takes energy for your body to break down the foods. As a result of the energy metabolizing to break the foods down into useful compounds for your body, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are released. This is good and normal for your body to do. But an excessive amount of ROS leads to problems like oxidative stress and ultimately disease.
Foods high in fat take more energy and release more ROS. Fortunately, polyphenols fight oxidative stress which helps to preserve your energy and avoid brain fog and sluggishness.
Some foods you can eat to fight energy drain include:
- Dark Chocolate
- Lemon verbena
Polyphenols for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
A global pandemic isn’t something we expected to happen in the 21st century. We have modern medicine so we really weren’t prepared to live as they did during the bubonic plague or Spanish flu, but here we are. The fact that we were unprepared for something like this increased the toll it has taken on our mental health.
School years are generally stressful and anxiety-inducing anyway, but now there is the added stress for parents of “do I send my kid to school or homeschool?”, “How will I manage childcare?”, “what do I do if my job won’t let me stay home?”.
These are all extremely valid concerns. These are on top of being quarantined at home and not being able to get out and enjoy the things we love. You aren’t alone, and nobody knows what the right answer is right now. You can help manage your stress, anxiety, and depression, though, by making sure to avoid stress eating every snack food in the house and focusing on a healthy diet.
Tea is going to be your best friend right now. Not only does tea offer you calming effects, but it also is full of stress and anxiety fighting polyphenols.
Studies on mice found that EGCG the main polyphenol of tea fights ROS reduces psychological stress, and improves cognitive performance. Basically it makes you healthier, reduces your stress, and helps you make better decisions with more clarity.
Other studies have shown the effects of ECGC among other polyphenols like quercetin to have anti-anxiety and anti-depressive effects on pregnant/postpartum women and rats who experienced unpredictable stress. Both sets of studies improved how the subjects were able to deal with stress and anxiety.
Polyphenols For Immune Health
Your immune system is a complex machine. There are a lot of moving parts but the good news is most of it can be modified by your diet. Your gut is responsible for breaking down your foods and sending out the nutrients to carry out their jobs. Your food choices also determine the strength of your gut barrier which is important for keeping your good bacteria in place.
Eating healthy foods is the biggest key to the health of your immune system. Taking care of your gut health with products like Atrantil, that provide a daily dose of polyphenols and help to nourish your microbiome, you’re supporting your immune health as well as your gut health.
Taking care of your gut health can help you to avoid allergic problems, have anti-cancer benefits, and improve your gut-brain axis for better mood and brain health.
Some polyphenol-filled foods that are beneficial to your immune health include elderberry syrup (don’t eat these raw), mint tea, red wine, and foods spiced with turmeric to name a few.
Polyphenols and Viruses
Believe it or not, polyphenols can actually help you to prevent viral and bacterial infections and help your body to fight ones you’re exposed to easier. This is not to say that polyphenols will cure viruses or bacteria-induced illnesses but it does help you to support your body in that fight.
Multiple studies have been done on viruses that are similar to COVID-19 specifically SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV since they’re both forms of coronaviruses. Polyphenols like resveratrol were the most frequently studied. There seemed to be a correlation between resveratrol and the improvement of people healing from these viruses.
There were also studies using elderberry for similar viruses and while one specific polyphenol wasn’t able to be determined as more helpful than another, there are many polyphenols in elderberries and the combination might be what makes elderberries so potent in boosting immune health.
Saying polyphenols will prevent or fight COVID-19 isn’t realistic. They are not a cure-all. However, they definitely do provide the potential to help your body’s immune system in the fight and right now, that’s about all we can ask for while scientists restlessly search for a cure.
Prepping for this school year might be the most difficult yet, but don’t forget to take care of you and your kids’ body health as well as mental health. Enjoy what you can, share fact-based information like this article, and take care of your health in any way you can. We are all in this fight together.