HARAI, Polyphenols and NCDs
With its basic ingredients of 32 organic fruits, vegetables and fungi, it is no surprise that each tablet of HARAI is bursting with polyphenols, a large family of plant-derived compounds considered by many to be the unsung heroes of good health. There are more than 8,000 of these compounds in the traditional fresh foods of the world, and they are especially effective in protecting us against the non-communicable disease (NCDs) – the chronic or “lifestyle” diseases that account for more than half of premature deaths worldwide.
But what exactly are polyphenols, and why are they so good for us?
Well, it might help to first mention that polyphenols fall outside the realm of ‘essential nutrients,’ a term which generally refers to carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Dietary scientists instead call polyphenols ‘functional food components,’ a classification which separates them from the better-known nutrients mentioned above. They’re also referred to as ‘bioactive’ compounds, a further reference to their multifaceted roles in our health.
“Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in the human diet,” according to a report in the National Library of Medicine¹. While polyphenols are found in all types of plant foods, they are particularly rich in fruits, nuts and berries, and one of the reasons these foods are highly recommended for reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular and degenerative diseases. ²
These same compounds are likewise a natural defense against inflammation, the debilitating factor in arthritis and other degenerative diseases (as well as in severe cases of COVID.) A recent report on the peer-reviewed science website www.intocephon.com discusses the anti-inflammatory effects of these compounds in the traditional Indian diet, which is very rich in polyphenols due to its heavy use of spices, vegetables and plant oils.³ The same report also cites abundant polyphenols (specifically the subclass flavonoids) in this diet as a factor in improved immune response. This latter function is attributable to the fact that some polyphenols, while not absorbed into or metabolized for transport in the bloodstream, nonetheless work within the digestive system by combatting hostile bacteria, promoting fermentation and probiotic bacteria, even chelating minerals such as iron, making it bioavailable for cellular uptake.