What are polyphenols?
Polyphenols are natural compounds that can be found in a number of plant foods. They are involved in defense against ultraviolet radiation or aggression by pathogens, and in this way, they act as antioxidants.
Types of Polyphenols
There are tens of thousands of polyphenols that have been identified so far, but there are two main types (with many subtypes in each category):
Flavonoids are the largest group of phytonutrients. With more than 6,000 types, they make up around 60% of all polyphenols. Flavonoids are found in lots of fruits and vegetables including onions, strawberries, kale, grapes, and brussel sprouts. They can also be found in medicinal herbals, spices, and even dark chocolate.
Phenolic acids comprise approximately 30% of all polyphenols, and they are found in a variety of plant-based foods; the seeds and skins of fruits and the leaves of vegetables contain the highest concentrations, but some types of phenolic acids are also found in oats and chili peppers.
There are many other types of polyphenols, such as ellagic acid in strawberries, resveratrol in red wine, and curcumin in turmeric.
But how do they benefit us?!
Polyphenols may help prevent blood clots and lower blood sugar levels. This is thought to be true as polyphenols may have the effect of preventing starch breakdown into simple sugars in our bodies – this would result in lowering the chance of a blood spike after eating.
Some polyphenols function as antioxidants and can help protect against the harmful “free radicals” that can damage cells. Others are thought to help reduce the risk of serious heart issues.
Polyphenols may promote the healthy growth of beneficial gut bacterial, which may aid the digestion process. Certain polyphenols may also promote healthy brain function, which can aid with concentration, learning, and memory.
Sources: https://www.livescience.com/52524-flavonoids.html#:~:text=Flavonoids%20are%20part%20of%20the%20polyphenol%20class%20of%20phytonutrients.&text=There%20are%20several%20significant%20groups,there%20are%20still%20more%20subgroups. healthline.com/nutrition/polyphenols#what-they-are https://brainmd.com/blog/what-are-polyphenols/