The supermarket secret to living 30 percent longer

It’s 9 a.m…do you know how many polyphenols you’ve ingested so far today? No, really. Do you? Because if not, you might want to start paying a little more attention.

In case you’ve forgotten, polyphenols are the naturally occurring plant compounds that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors.

Berries, broccoli, almonds, pure dark chocolate, teas, and herbs and spices like cinnamon are all great options. And those are just a few examples of polyphenol-rich foods. I encourage you to get a complete list and keep it on your phone or in your purse or pocket. And consult it whenever you go grocery shopping. Because it could literally add years to your life.

At least, that’s the takeaway of a new study I want to share with you today.

The findings of this study point to a link between high polyphenol intake and lower mortality risk. Or to put it another way, having a polyphenol-rich diet could help you live longer. And who doesn’t want that?

Of course, a lot of studies have shown that eating plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies could lower your risk of disease and death. But the true beauty of this Spanish study was that it actually measured total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentrations.

Previous research has relied on patients’ memory of what they ate to explore the benefit of polyphenols. But it goes without saying that this isn’t the best way to get measurable, accurate results.

On the other hand, the use of a clear biomarker like TUP lessens the chance that these results somehow fell into place randomly. (A common excuse that many natural health skeptics use against the validity of our scientific research.)

It also allows us to make more definitive conclusions about certain foods and their effect on mortality and disease risk. And this is particularly important when you’re looking at food as a “treatment” and not a nutritional supplement pill with a predetermined dosage.

This was the first time a clinical study has used an approach like this. And hopefully it won’t be the last. Because the results were favorable, to say the least.

By assessing TUP, these researchers found that subjects with polyphenol-rich diets (that is, intakes greater than 650 mg daily) benefited from a 30 percent lower overall mortality risk when compared to their counterparts with polyphenol intakes below 500 mg daily.

If that’s not a good argument to truly look at what you put on your plate, I don’t know what is.

“High Concentrations of a Urinary Biomarker of Polyphenol Intake Are Associated with Decreased Mortality in Older Adults.” J Nutr. 2013 Sep;143(9):1445-50.