Polyphenols are organic compounds found plentifully in plant sources well-known for offering indispensable health benefits. Recent studies have disclosed that regular addition of polyphenols in the diet may play a crucial role in regulating metabolism, digestion, boost brain health and for lowering the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancers.
Polyphenols possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that exhibit preventive and therapeutic effects for cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and obesity. They are naturally abundant in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, tea, dark chocolate etc
What Are Different Types Of Polyphenols?
There are more than eight thousand varieties of polyphenols identified which are categorised into four major groups.
Flavonoids form the major type of polyphenol accounting for 60%. Some of the flavonoids include quercetin, kaempferol, catechins and anthocyanin which are found profusely in food sources such as apples, dark chocolate, red cabbage and onions.
Phenolic Acids is another type which accounts for 30% of all polyphenols. Stilbenes and lignans are some of the phenolic acids which are found largely in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and seeds.
Polyphenolic amides type includes capsaicinoids and aventhramides which are found in minimal amounts in chilli peppers and oats respectively.
Other polyphenols type includes resveratrol in red wines, ellagic acid in berries, curcumin in turmeric and lignans found in flaxseeds, sesame seeds and whole-grain cereals. The amount of polyphenols present in food depends upon the food where it is grown, origin, ripeness, storage and transportation. It is also available in the form of a supplement.
Wellness Incentives Of Polyphenols:
Regulates Blood Sugar
Polyphenols are well known to lower blood sugar level, it works by averting the breakdown of carbohydrates into simple sugars which lower the blood sugar spikes post meals. Besides this, polyphenols also stimulate insulin secretion, a hormone that plays a vital role in transporting the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells and stabilise the blood sugar levels.
Several studies have disclosed that a diet abundant in polyphenols helps in lowering fasting blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Furthermore, evidence suggests that anthocyanins exhibit the strongest antidiabetic effects among all polyphenols. Some of the food sources naturally loaded with anthocyanins are red, purple and blue coloured foods such as eggplant, red cabbage, berries, grapes and currants.
Promotes Heart Health
Regular addition of food rich in polyphenols augments heart functions and health. The potent antioxidant properties of polyphenols scavenge free radicals and fight oxidative stress which aids in lowering inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease. Studies have revealed that polyphenol supplements are beneficial in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, high blood pressure and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Lignans are kind of polyphenols abundant in flax seeds and whole grains which facilitates to lower risk of heart disease.
Improves Digestion Process
Polyphenols are known to work as a digestive aid by stimulating the growth of gut-friendly bacteria and get rid of the harmful ones. Green tea extracts are a great source of polyphenols which promote the growth of good bacteria bifidobacteria and combats harmful bacteria such as C.dificile and E.Coli. In addition, polyphenols also help in treating peptic ulcer and inflammatory bowel disease.
Boosts Brain Health
Eating a diet plentiful in polyphenols is valuable in boosting brain function, improve memory and concentration. Flavonols a type of polyphenols support to enhance the blood flow to the brain and remarkably improve the memory and attention span. Apart from this, Ginkgo biloba extracts imbued with polyphenols stimulate brain function and short –term memory loss in patients suffering from dementia and trigger memory, learning and concentration.
Polyphenol compounds are endowed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which are effective in preventing the risk of cancer. Evidence has shown that diet rich in polyphenol lower risk of breast and prostate cancers. Noteworthy examples show that the anticancer efficacy of natural polyphenols such as anthocyanins rich in blueberries, epigallocatechin gallate in green tea, resveratrol in red wine and flavones in soy has the potential to avert cancer cell proliferation.
Polyphenols are highly beneficial organic compounds abounds in plant foods which have the potential to enhance digestion, boost brain function, regulate blood sugar and lowers the risk of chronic diseases. Eating a diet abundant in a myriad of colourful fruits, vegetables and other natural plant produces suffice you with healthful incentives of polyphenols
FROM AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR DR GOVIND SHUKLA, NUTRITION EXPERT
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Govind Shukla, Specializes in Pharmacology, Toxicology, Nutraceuticals & Herbal Drugs has published More than 100 research papers in National & International Journals. He is also a reviewer of International Journal of Pharmacology & pharmacotherapeutics, Chief editor of IJPNR Journal & Freelance Medical Writer for Different publication Groups including Lambert Academic Publishing Saarbrucken, Germany.