Polyphenols Vs. Flavonoids

Polyphenols are natural plant components that can provide color and flavor. The two classes of polyphenols are non-flavonoids and flavonoids.

  1. Non-Flavonoids

    • Non-flavonoid polyphenols include ellagic acid, found in strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, and coumarins, which are found in citrus fruits, strawberries, apricots, cherries and cinnamon.

    Flavonoids

    • According to the Linus Pauling Institute, researchers have identified more than 4,000 flavonoids. They include anthocyanins found in fruits, catechins in tea and wine, flavanones in citrus, flavones in fruits and vegetables, flavonols in fruits, vegetables, tea and wine, and isoflavones in soybeans.

    Benefits

    • Flavonoids have antioxidant effects. The USDA's Agricultural Research Service reports that some, but not all, studies have linked eating flavonoids to a lower risk of heart disease.

    Caution

    • The term "polyphenols" is not the same as the term "phytonutrients." Polyphenols are just one class of phytonutrient. Other phytonutrients include carotenoids, inositol phosphates, lignans, indoles and terpenes.

    Fun Fact

    • The polyphenol resveratrol found in red wine may be responsible for the "French paradox," so named because people in France have low rates of heart disease even though they eat diets high in saturated fat.

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References

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