Polyphenols are compounds that give a plant its color and help to protect it from various dangers. When you eat plants with polyphenols, YOU reap the health benefits as well.
These polyphenols, which are in a group of over 500 phytochemicals, is important to our bodies and our health. Research has found that polyphenols can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, decrease the risks of diabetes or cancer, and may lead to a longer life.
Recent studies suggest that if you prepare your greens in a certain way you will BOOST the polyphenol power of your greens.
Research shows that ripping your greens versus chopping, slicing or cutting with a knife boosts the health benefits of greens. When greens are cut or torn, the leaf creates more polyphenols to “defend against more damage”. When we rip into the greens, the plant thinks it’s under attack and sends out polyphenols. Polyphenols are slightly bitter and that bitterness is a protection against animals eating the plant – the plant’s natural defense mechanism is creating this bitter taste to stop the attack. Some nutritionists believe that the greens are still alive and as a result send out more of the polyphenols designed to protect the plant which in turn actually power up their nutritional value and help our bodies.
Don’t slice or cut your greens with a knife
Tearing the leaf is similar to what can happen to a leaf in nature, therefore the leaves release more polyphenols than when greens are sliced. Another reason to tear your leaves is that slicing and chopping will brown leaves faster which breaks down the polyphenols. There may be no real nutritive benefit to cutting if you do not eat your greens quickly. The knife you use can also cause browning quicker. A blunt knife or a knife with copper can increase the browning process which reduces the benefits.