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Ensuring optimal food diversity is essential for optimal health. In fact research has shown that food diversity may be associated with the diversity of gut bacteria in our digestives system. We all know how important our gut bacteria are for our health and wellbeing! This article summarises a published paper about polyphenols & health.

It would seem that specific nutrients, detailed below, have profound influence on a specific type of immune cell called dendritic cells. These cells have a key role to play with in oral tolerance and thus gut and immune health.

While many diets are popular and very effective in improving symptoms (such as the FODMAP and SCD diet), there are concerns over the long term use of these diets on our long term health.

The below highlights the key foods and nutrients that have been shown to be of benefit.

Modulation of innate and adaptive immunity by plants may represent an attractive strategy to prevent/ treat deregulated immune responses. Accordingly, accumulating evidence indicates that medicinal plants have the capacity to regulate the development and function of dendritic cells.  Polyphenols have demonstrated many therapeutic properties, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antiviral.


Anti-inflammatory effects

Found in: Celery, green pepper, perilla leaf and seeds, and chamomile


Besides its anticancer activity, apigenin demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antimicrobial and antiallergic potential.

Found in: Oranges and grapefruit; plant-derived beverages, like tea; vegetables, such as parsley, thyme, peppermint and onions; as well as in wheat sprouts and chamomile


Its biological activities include antihypertensive, neuroprotective, chemoprotective, anti-inflammatory and antiallergic.

Found in: apples, berries, Brassica vegetables, capers, grapes, onions, shallots, tea, and tomatoes, as well as in many seeds, nuts, flowers, barks, and leaves. Quercetin is also found in medicinal plants, including Ginkgo biloba, Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort) and Sambucus canadensis (elder)


Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, antidiabetic, anti-osteoporotic, estrogenic/antiestrogenic, anxiolytic, analgesic and anti-allergic.

Found in: many edible plants, like tea, broccoli, cabbage, kale, beans, endive, leeks, tomatoes, strawberries and grapes, and in plants used in traditional medicine, such as Ginkgo biloba, Tilia spp., Equisetum spp., Moringa oleifera, Sophora japonica and also in the propolis.


Have demonstrated remarkable activities, including antioxidant, antiangiogenic, antimutagenic, anticancer, hypocholesterolemic, protection against neurodegenerative diseases, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory

Found in: Green tea

Milk Thistle

This flavonoid exerts several biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antifibrinogenic, antiviral and enhancer of liver activity.


Is a common plant stilbene present in relatively large amounts in red wine, grapes, peanuts


Influence the bioavailability of several minerals and protect from oxidative stress that is in the origin of several pathological conditions.

Found in: fruits, legume seeds, cereal grains and different beverages, like wine, tea, cocoa and cider.


In traditional medicine, turmeric has been used as a stomachic, blood purifier and is useful for the common cold, leprosy, intermittent fevers, afflictions of the liver, indolent ulcer, woundhealing, and inflammation. Curcumin demonstrates several properties, like anticancer, anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory, due to its capacity to modulate different transcription factors, cytokines, growth factors, kinases and other enzymes.


he take away message really is that food diversity is absolutely essential for optimal health and wellbeing. How many different foods do you eat per day, or per week? How can you start to increase the number of different foods you consume on a regular basis?