Polyphenols in foods and their health benefits.

Posted by Aleksandra Glapinska on

Polyphenols are a type of plant substances beneficial for our health. 

Consuming polyphenols is thought to improve digestion and brain health, in addition, to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.

Red wine, dark chocolate, tea and berries are some of the best-known sources. Yet, several other foods also offer significant quantities of these compounds.

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What are polyphenols? 

Polyphenols are a category of substances normally discovered in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, natural herbs, seasonings, tea, dark chocolate, as well as red wine.
They can work as anti-oxidants, meaning they can neutralize dangerous free radicals that would damage your cells and boost your threat of problems like cancer, diabetic issues, and also cardiovascular disease.
Polyphenols are thought to lower inflammation, which is believed to be the origin of several chronic diseases.

Groups of polyphenols
More than 8,000 types of polyphenols have actually been determined. They can be further categorized into 4 main groups:

Flavonoids. These account for about 60% of all polyphenols. Instances include quercetin, kaempferol, catechins, and also anthocyanins, which are located in foods like apples, onions, dark chocolate, and red cabbage.
Phenolic acids. This group makes up around 30% of all polyphenols. Examples consist of stilbenes and also lignans, which are mainly discovered in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, as well as seeds.
Polyphenolic amides. This category consists of capsaicinoids in chilli peppers as well as avenanthramides in oats.
Various other polyphenols. This group consists of resveratrol in red wine, ellagic acid in berries, curcumin in turmeric, and also lignans in flax seeds, sesame seeds and also whole grains.
The quantity as well as kind of polyphenols in foods depend on the food, including its origin, ripeness, and also how it was farmed, transported, stored and prepared.

Polyphenol-containing supplements are available as well. However, they're likely to be less beneficial than polyphenol-rich foods.

Health benefits of polyphenols.
Polyphenols may reduce the blood sugar level adding to a decreased risk of type 2 diabetics. That's partially due to the fact that polyphenols might stop the breakdown of starch into simple sugars, lowering the possibility of blood sugar spikes after meals.
These substances might additionally help boost the secretion of insulin, a hormone that's responsible for taking sugar from your bloodstream into your cells and maintain the blood sugar level secure.
Different research studies connect polyphenol-rich diet plans to lower fasting blood sugar level, greater sugar tolerance, and increased insulin sensitivity - the important factors of type 2 diabetes. 
In one research, people consuming the highest quantities of polyphenol-rich foods had up to a 57% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes over 2 - 4 years, compared with those eating the lowest quantities.
Amongst polyphenols, the study recommends that anthocyanins might provide one of the most powerful anti-diabetic effects. They're usually found in red, purple, as well as blue foods, such as berries, currants, and grapes. 

Adding polyphenols to your diet regimen might enhance heart health.
Experts think that this is mainly because of the antioxidant properties of polyphenols, which help in reducing chronic inflammation, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Two current reviews link polyphenol supplements to reduced blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol level, along with higher HDL (good) cholesterol.
Polyphenols may lower the risk of creating a blood clot.
Polyphenols may help in reducing the platelet aggregation process, therefore protecting against the development of blood clots. 

May protect against cancer.
Research study continually links diet plans rich in plant foods to a reduced risk of cancer and also numerous professionals believe that polyphenols are partly responsible for this.
Polyphenols have strong antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can be valuable for cancer prevention.
In humans, some research studies connect high consumption of polyphenol to a lower risk of breast and prostate cancers, while others find no impacts. Consequently, more research studies are required before strong final statements can be made.

May promote healthy digestion.
Polyphenols may support digestion by promoting the growth of helpful digestive tract bacteria while eliminating harmful ones. 
As an example, evidence suggests that polyphenol-rich tea can promote the growth of useful bifidobacteria.
Similarly, green tea polyphenols might assist fight off harmful microorganisms, including C. difficile, E. Coli, and Salmonella.
Moreover, emerging proof shows that polyphenols might help probiotics flourish as well as endure. These are valuable microorganisms that live in fermented foods and also can be taken in supplements. However, more research is needed.

May promote brain function.
Polyphenol-rich foods may improve your focus and memory.
One study reports that drinking grape juice, which is naturally abundant in polyphenols, aided significantly improve memory in older adults with moderate mental impairment in as low as 12 weeks.
Others recommend that chocolate flavanols might enhance blood flow to the brain as well as have actually linked these polyphenols to boosted working memory and also attention.
In a similar way, the polyphenol-rich plant extracts Ginkgo biloba appears to enhance memory, learning, and focus. It has also been linked to enhanced brain activity and short-term memory in those with dementia. 

Foods rich in polyphenols.
Though tea, dark chocolate, red wine, and also berries are most likely the best-known sources of polyphenols, lots of various other foods likewise consist of high amounts of these beneficial compounds.

Right here are the 75 foods wealthiest in polyphenols, listed by group.

black chokeberries
black and also red currants
black elderberries
black grapes

red chicory
red lettuce
red and yellow onions
black beans
soybean sprouts
soy meat
soy milk.
soy yogurt
white beans

Nuts, seeds
flax seeds

entire wheat

Natural herbs and spices
celery seed
curry powder
dried basil
dried marjoram
dried parsley
dried peppermint
dried spearmint
lemon verbena
Mexican oregano

black tea
chocolate powder
dark chocolate
green tea
olives and also olive oil
rapeseed oil
red wine

Including foods from each of these groups in your diet plan offers you a variety of polyphenols.

What regarding polyphenol supplements?
Supplements have the advantage of offering a constant dosage of polyphenols. Nonetheless, they also have several possible disadvantages.

First, supplements haven't been consistently shown to offer the exact same advantages as polyphenol-rich foods, and they do not consist of any of the additional useful plant substances normally located in whole foods.

In addition, polyphenols appear to work best when interacting with the various other nutrients normally located in foods. It's currently unclear whether isolated polyphenols, such as those in supplements, are as effective as those found in foods.

Ultimately, polyphenol supplements aren't controlled, and lots of them have dosages over 100 times bigger than those in foods. Extra research is required to develop safe and efficient dosages, and it's uncertain whether these big dosages are beneficial.

Potential dangers and also side effects.
Polyphenol-rich foods are safe for many people.
The same can not be stated about supplements, which tend to provide much higher quantities of polyphenols than those commonly located in a healthy diet regimen.
Pet researches show that high-dosage polyphenol supplements may cause kidney damage, tumors, as well as an imbalance in thyroid hormone levels. In people, they may result in a boosted threat of stroke and premature death.

Some polyphenol-rich supplements can influence nutrient absorption or interact with medicines. For example, they may decrease your body's ability to absorb iron, thiamine, or folate.
If you have an identified nutrient deficiency or are taking drugs, it may be best to talk to your healthcare provider regarding polyphenol supplements prior to taking them.
In addition, some polyphenol-rich foods, such as beans and also peas, may be abundant in lectins. When consumed in large quantities, lectins might trigger undesirable digestion effects and symptoms, such as gas, bloating, and indigestion. If this is a concern for you, try soaking or sprouting your beans before eating them, as this can help in reducing the lectin content by up to 50%.

Polyphenols are beneficial substances in lots of plant foods that can be grouped into flavonoids, phenolic acid, polyphenolic amides, and also other polyphenols.
They may boost digestion, brain function, and regulate blood glucose level, as well as protect against blood clots, heart problem and certain cancers.

Extra research is needed to identify reliable and safe polyphenol supplement dosages. For that reason, for the time being, it's best to rely on foods instead of supplements to enhance your intake of these healthy compounds. 

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