What Are Polyphenols? Sorts, Advantages, and Meals Sources

Polyphenols are a class of plant compounds that provides numerous well being advantages.

Repeatedly consuming polyphenols is assumed to spice up digestion and mind well being, in addition to defend towards coronary heart illness, kind 2 diabetes, and even sure cancers.

Crimson wine, darkish chocolate, tea, and berries are a few of the best-known sources. But, many different meals additionally supply important quantities of those compounds.

This text evaluations all the pieces it’s worthwhile to find out about polyphenols, together with attainable meals sources.

Polyphenols are a class of compounds naturally present in plant meals, similar to fruits, greens, herbs, spices, tea, darkish chocolate, and wine.

They’ll act as antioxidants, that means they will neutralize dangerous free radicals that may in any other case injury your cells and improve your danger of situations like most cancers, diabetes, and coronary heart illness (1).

Polyphenols are additionally thought to scale back irritation, which is considered the basis reason behind many persistent sicknesses (2, 3).

Kinds of polyphenols

Greater than 8,000 varieties of polyphenols have been recognized. They are often additional categorized into four fundamental teams (4, 5):

  • Flavonoids. These account for round 60% of all polyphenols. Examples embody quercetin, kaempferol, catechins, and anthocyanins, that are present in meals like apples, onions, darkish chocolate, and crimson cabbage.
  • Phenolic acids. This group accounts for round 30% of all polyphenols. Examples embody stilbenes and lignans, that are principally present in fruits, greens, entire grains, and seeds.
  • Polyphenolic amides. This class contains capsaicinoids in chili peppers and avenanthramides in oats.
  • Different polyphenols. This group contains resveratrol in crimson wine, ellagic acid in berries, curcumin in turmeric, and lignans in flax seeds, sesame seeds, and entire grains.

The quantity and sort of polyphenols in meals rely on the meals, together with its origin, ripeness, and the way it was farmed, transported, saved, and ready.

Polyphenol-containing dietary supplements can be found as effectively. Nevertheless, they’re prone to be much less useful than polyphenol-rich meals (6).

Abstract Polyphenols are useful plant compounds with antioxidant properties that will assist preserve you wholesome and defend towards numerous illnesses. They are often subdivided into flavonoids, phenolic acid, polyphenolic amides, and different polyphenols.

Polyphenols have been linked to numerous well being advantages.

Might decrease blood sugar ranges

Polyphenols might assist decrease your blood sugar ranges, contributing to a decrease danger of kind 2 diabetes.

That’s partly as a result of polyphenols might stop the breakdown of starch into easy sugars, reducing the chance of blood sugar spikes after meals (7).

These compounds might also assist stimulate the secretion of insulin, a hormone that’s required to shuttle sugar out of your bloodstream into your cells and preserve your blood sugar ranges steady (7).

Numerous research additional hyperlink polyphenol-rich diets to decrease fasting blood sugar ranges, larger glucose tolerance, and elevated insulin sensitivity — all vital components in reducing your danger of kind 2 diabetes (8).

In a single examine, folks consuming the best quantities of polyphenol-rich meals had as much as a 57% decrease danger of growing kind 2 diabetes over 2–four years, in contrast with these consuming the bottom quantities (9).

Amongst polyphenols, analysis means that anthocyanins might supply essentially the most potent antidiabetic impact. They’re sometimes present in crimson, purple, and blue meals, similar to berries, currants, and grapes (10, 11).

Might decrease your danger of coronary heart illness

Including polyphenols to your food plan might enhance coronary heart well being.

Specialists imagine that that is largely because of the antioxidant properties of polyphenols, which assist scale back persistent irritation, a danger issue for coronary heart illness (3, 12, 13).

Two latest evaluations hyperlink polyphenol dietary supplements to decrease blood strain and LDL (dangerous) levels of cholesterol, in addition to larger HDL (good) ldl cholesterol (14, 15).

One other overview discovered a 45% decrease danger of loss of life from coronary heart illness in these with larger enterolactone ranges, that are a marker of lignan consumption. Lignans are a kind of polyphenol sometimes present in flax seeds and entire grains (16).

Might stop blood clots

Polyphenols might scale back your danger of growing a blood clot.

Blood clots are fashioned when platelets circulating in your bloodstream start to clump collectively. This course of is called platelet aggregation and is beneficial in stopping extra bleeding.

Nevertheless, extra platelet aggregation may cause blood clots, which might have damaging well being results, together with deep vein thrombosis, stroke, and pulmonary embolism (17).

In line with test-tube and animal research, polyphenols might assist scale back the platelet aggregation course of, thereby stopping the formation of blood clots (18, 19, 20).

Might defend towards most cancers

Analysis constantly hyperlinks diets wealthy in plant meals to a decrease danger of most cancers, and plenty of consultants imagine that polyphenols are partly liable for this (5, 21, 22).

Polyphenols have sturdy antioxidant and anti inflammatory results, each of which could be useful for most cancers prevention (23).

A latest overview of test-tube research means that polyphenols might block the expansion and growth of assorted most cancers cells (5, 24).

In people, some research hyperlink excessive blood markers of polyphenol consumption to a decrease danger of breast and prostate cancers, whereas others discover no results. Due to this fact, extra research are wanted earlier than sturdy conclusions could be made (25).

Might promote wholesome digestion

Polyphenols might profit digestion by selling the expansion of useful intestine micro organism whereas warding off dangerous ones (26, 27).

For example, proof means that polyphenol-rich tea extracts can promote the expansion of useful bifidobacteria (28).

Equally, inexperienced tea polyphenols might assist struggle off dangerous micro organism, together with C. difficile, E. Coli, and Salmonella,in addition to enhance signs of peptic ulcer illness (PUD) and inflammatory bowel illness (IBD) (29, 30).

Moreover, rising proof signifies that polyphenols might assist probiotics thrive and survive. These are useful micro organism that happen in sure fermented meals and could be taken in complement kind. Nevertheless, extra analysis is required (31).

Might promote mind operate

Polyphenol-rich meals might enhance your focus and reminiscence.

One examine stories that consuming grape juice, which is of course wealthy in polyphenols, helped considerably enhance reminiscence in older adults with delicate psychological impairment in as little as 12 weeks (32).

Others counsel that cocoa flavanols might enhance blood movement to the mind and have linked these polyphenols to improved working reminiscence and a focus (33, 34, 35, 36).

Equally, the polyphenol-rich plant extract Ginkgo biloba seems to spice up reminiscence, studying, and focus. It has additionally been linked to improved mind exercise and short-term reminiscence in these with dementia (37).

Abstract Polyphenols might assist stop blood clots, scale back blood sugar ranges, and decrease coronary heart illness danger. They could additionally promote mind operate, enhance digestion, and supply some safety towards most cancers, although extra analysis is required.

Although tea, darkish chocolate, crimson wine, and berries are seemingly the best-known sources of polyphenols, many different meals additionally comprise excessive quantities of those useful compounds.

Listed here are the 75 meals richest in polyphenols, listed by class (38).


  • apples
  • apricots
  • black chokeberries
  • black and crimson currants
  • black elderberries
  • black grapes
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • cherries
  • grapes
  • grapefruit
  • lemon
  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • pears
  • pomegranate
  • plums
  • raspberries
  • strawberries


  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • endives
  • potatoes
  • crimson chicory
  • crimson lettuce
  • crimson and yellow onions
  • spinach
  • shallots


  • black beans
  • tempeh
  • tofu
  • soybean sprouts
  • soy meat
  • soy milk
  • soy yogurt
  • white beans

Nuts and seeds

  • almonds
  • chestnuts
  • hazelnuts
  • flax seeds
  • pecans
  • walnuts


Herbs and spices

  • caraway
  • celery seed
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • cumin
  • curry powder
  • dried basil
  • dried marjoram
  • dried parsley
  • dried peppermint
  • dried spearmint
  • lemon verbena
  • Mexican oregano
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • star anise
  • thyme


  • black tea
  • capers
  • cocoa powder
  • espresso
  • darkish chocolate
  • ginger
  • inexperienced tea
  • olives and olive oil
  • rapeseed oil
  • crimson wine
  • vinegar

Together with meals from every of those classes in your food plan supplies you all kinds of polyphenols.

Abstract Many plant meals are naturally wealthy in polyphenols. Together with a wide range of these meals in your food plan is a good technique to spice up your consumption of those useful vitamins.

Dietary supplements have the benefit of providing a constant dose of polyphenols. Nevertheless, additionally they have a number of potential drawbacks.

First, dietary supplements haven’t been constantly proven to supply the identical advantages as polyphenol-rich meals, and so they don’t comprise any of the extra useful plant compounds sometimes present in entire meals.

Furthermore, polyphenols appear to work finest when interacting with the numerous different vitamins naturally present in meals. It’s at present unclear whether or not remoted polyphenols, similar to these in dietary supplements, are as efficient as these present in meals (6, 39).

Lastly, polyphenol dietary supplements aren’t regulated, and plenty of comprise doses over 100 instances bigger than these in meals. Extra analysis is required to determine secure and efficient dosages, and it’s unclear whether or not these massive doses are useful (39, 40).

Abstract Polyphenol dietary supplements might not supply the identical well being advantages as polyphenol-rich meals. Efficient and secure dosages haven’t been decided.

Polyphenol-rich meals are secure for most individuals.

The identical can’t be mentioned of dietary supplements, which have a tendency to offer a lot larger portions of polyphenols than these sometimes present in a nutritious diet (39).

Animal research present that high-dose polyphenol dietary supplements might trigger kidney injury, tumors, and an imbalance in thyroid hormone ranges. In people, they might lead to an elevated danger of stroke and untimely loss of life (39, 40).

Some polyphenol-rich dietary supplements can work together with nutrient absorption or work together with medicines. For example, they might scale back your physique’s potential to soak up iron, thiamine, or folate (39, 41, 42).

If in case you have a recognized nutrient deficiency or are taking medicines, it might be finest to talk to your healthcare supplier about polyphenol dietary supplements earlier than taking them.

As well as, some polyphenol-rich meals, similar to beans and peas, could also be wealthy in lectins. When consumed in massive portions, lectins might trigger disagreeable digestive signs, similar to gasoline, bloating, and indigestion (43).

If this is a matter for you, strive soaking or sprouting your legumes earlier than consuming them, as this may help scale back the lectin content material by as much as 50% (44, 45).

Abstract Polyphenol-rich meals are thought-about secure for most individuals, whereas dietary supplements might trigger extra hurt than good. To cut back gasoline, bloating, and indigestion, strive soaking or sprouting polyphenol-rich legumes earlier than consuming them.

Polyphenols are useful compounds in lots of plant meals that may be grouped into flavonoids, phenolic acid, polyphenolic amides, and different polyphenols.

They could enhance digestion, mind operate, and blood sugar ranges, in addition to defend towards blood clots, coronary heart illness, and sure cancers.

Extra analysis is required to establish efficient and secure polyphenol complement dosages.

Due to this fact, in the intervening time, it’s finest to depend on meals slightly than dietary supplements to spice up your consumption of those healthful compounds.

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