Polyphenols are a category of plant compounds that offers various health benefits.
Regularly consuming polyphenols is thought to boost digestion and brain health, as well as protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers.
Red wine, dark chocolate, tea, and berries are some of the best-known sources. Yet, many other foods also offer significant amounts of these compounds.
This article reviews everything you need to know about polyphenols, including possible food sources.
Polyphenols are a category of compounds naturally found in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, tea, dark chocolate, and wine.
They can act as antioxidants, meaning they can neutralize harmful free radicals that would otherwise damage your cells and increase your risk of conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Polyphenols are also thought to reduce inflammation, which is thought to be the root cause of many chronic illnesses.
Types of polyphenols
More than 8,000 types of polyphenols have been identified. They can be further categorized into 4 main groups:
- Flavonoids. These account for around 60% of all polyphenols. Examples include quercetin, kaempferol, catechins, and anthocyanins, which are found in foods like apples, onions, dark chocolate, and red cabbage.
- Phenolic acids. This group accounts for around 30% of all polyphenols. Examples include stilbenes and lignans, which are mostly found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and seeds.
- Polyphenolic amides. This category includes capsaicinoids in chili peppers and avenanthramides in oats.
- Other polyphenols. This group includes resveratrol in red wine, ellagic acid in berries, curcumin in turmeric, and lignans in flax seeds, sesame seeds, and whole grains.
The amount and type of polyphenols in foods depend on the food, including its origin, ripeness, and 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.
Learn about the health benefits of polyphenols, food sources, supplements, and risks & side effects by clicking on this link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/polyphenols