What On Earth Is A Polyphenol And Why Are They Important
Posted on Sep 23, 2023

Polyphenols are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tea, dark chocolate, and wine. These powerful plant compounds tout anti-inflammatory properties and offer antioxidant-like protection against harmful, cell-damaging free radicals and diseases. A polyphenol has a chemical aromatic ring with multiple phenols attached to that ring. They are synthesized by plants.

A diet rich in polyphenols is crucial for reducing inflammation, the catalyst for most non-communicable diseases today. One study revealed that the higher levels of polyphenol lignans in the body, such as those found in flaxseed and sesame seeds, the lower the inflammation markers were.

Dr. Meredith Warner follows the Mediterranean diet and recommends it to her patients because it’s a great way to increase your intake of polyphenol-rich foods and reap a myriad of health benefits.

Many studies show the value of adding polyphenols to your diet due to their innate ability to combat UV damage and pollution as well as fight the fundamental start of diseases such as cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative.

What Are The Main Groups Of Polyphenols:


such as quercetin, kaempferol, catechins, and anthocyanins tout anti-carcinogenic properties and are found in foods such as apples, onions, dark chocolate, and red cabbage. These are also highly anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. 60% of all polyphenols are flavonoids.

Phenolic Acids

such as stilbenes and lignans are found in whole grains and seeds. This group is notable for heart health and overall longevity and makes up 30% of all polyphenols.

Polyphenolic amides

have subgroups called capsaicinoids which are found in chili peppers and avenanthramides found in oats. According to studies, avenanthramides effectively slash (low-density lipoprotein or “bad”) cholesterol. This may be why many ultra-processed foods that happen to contain oats are allowed to market themselves as ‘heart healthy’.

Other polyphenols

include curcumin in turmeric, resveratrol in red wine, and lignans in flaxseed, sesame seeds, and whole grains. These polyphenols are especially beneficial for heart health, reducing inflammation, and blood pressure stabilization.

Diets high in polyphenol-rich foods such as the Mediterranean diet are one of the best ways to boost your intake of these critical nutrients. In fact, the Mediterranean diet is one of the most well-studied diets for overall health outcomes and is rated by experts as the Best Overall Diet in U.S. News & World Report.