Thursday, September 15, 2011

Polyphenols for Healthier Arteries

The next time you demolish an entire fast food burger and fries, consider chasing it with some of these:
Image: Pixomar /
Every time you eat a high calorie, fat-laden meal, the levels of blood vessel destroying blood fats spike temporarily as you digest it.  These blood fats, better known as cholesterol to the rest of us, come in many different forms. The kind that spikes after the consumption of a fatty meal are called oxidized low density lipoproteins (LDLs, the not so good kind!).  These LDLs are particularly nasty because they enjoy shredding the lining of your arteries for a good time.

Sounds pretty bad, right? Yeah, that's because it is. The spots that get shredded are perfect for arterial plaque to adhere.

How can you minimize the damage?

Recent studies show that people who chased these type of meals with roughly 2/3 cup of strawberries saw a smaller rise in their oxidized LDL levels. Researchers theorize that polyphenols in the fruits are the cause. Polyphenols, a type of phytochemical, in food exhibit a dampening effect, because compounds contained within them in inhibit the absorption of some nutrients.

Obviously, the best way to prevent this kind of damage is to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet, but no one is perfect. So the next time you go overboard, think of having some fresh, juicy strawberries for dessert. Heck, don't even wait until you go overboard, add some strawberries to your diet today. You'll still reap the benefits of the antioxidive properties found in them.

Don't like strawberries? Plenty of other fruits and veggies have polyphenols:
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
And many more!

What's your favorite source of polyphenols? Lemme know in a comment down below. :)

I think my favorites are strawberries and celery! :)