Polyphenols is a set of compound chemicals–including antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids, phytosterols and resveratrol–that are found in many foods from fruits and vegetables to nuts, cocoa, dark chocolate and even red wine. Each type of polyphenol has specific health benefits that help maintain or improve our body’s overall health and ability to function to its fullest capacity on a daily basis.
Fruits and Vegetables
Polyphenols are abundant in many fruits, especially berries. Those found in blueberries are called anthocyanins, which help keep your memory acute. Raspberries contain the compound called ellagic acid, which has properties for cancer prevention. In addition, polyphenols in berries have also shown the ability to slow the process of bone loss, a factor that can lead to osteoporosis.
Polyphenols found in olives and olive oil are beneficial for minimizing risk factors of cardiovascular disease and reduce overall inflammation.
Cocoa and Dark Chocolate
Cocoa beans provide a good source for the polyphenol called flavonoids. Chocolate, on the other hand, is not, as it loses much of the flavonoids contained in cocoa during processing. However, dark chocolate retains those flavonoids and therefore also contains high levels of flavonoids. Flavonoids can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The phytochemicals grouping includes carotenoids, phenols and phytosterols. These phytochemicals are prevalent in walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts and may help to reduce the risk for chronic diseases. Like in cocoa and dark chocolate, nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and pistachios, and hazelnuts are high in flavonoids.
Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in red wine, which helps protect your cardiovascular and neurological systems and keeps them functioning at full capacity. While studies have documented benefits of resveratrol in wine, it is important to also note that you reap these benefits only when you consume wine in moderation. Too much wine leads to damaged internal organs and dead body cells, both of which are essential to your health and life.
This piece was written with the intention of informing you about the health benefits for various types of polyphenols found in different foods. Please note that it is in no way meant to be used for diagnosing potential illnesses, diseases and other medical conditions. Always consult your physician or specialist for specific opinions regarding possible diagnoses for your symptoms.