What are Polyphenols and why are they so important?

Our mission in Georgetown Olive Oil Co. is to provide you with the freshest olive oil you can buy on the market. We can’t stress enough how important is the number of polyphenols in the olive oil and in food in general. But what are polyphenols? Take a moment and learn more…

What are Polyphenols?

Polyphenols are phytochemicals, meaning compounds found abundantly in natural plant food sources that have antioxidant properties. There are over 8,000 identified polyphenols found in foods such as tea, wine, chocolates, fruits, vegetables, and extra virgin olive oil, just to name a few.

Polyphenols play an important role in maintaining your health and wellness. If your body does not get adequate protection (antioxidants), free radicals can become rampant, causing your cells to perform poorly. This can lead to tissue degradation and put you at risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease, for example.

Our EVOOs, come with a chemical analysis taken at the time of crush. Polyphenols are the first and most important number we should look for in Olive Oil. The number of Polyphenols indicates how fresh and well crafted the olive oil is and dictates its flavor intensity. This peppery sensation we feel after trying an olive oil is actually the amount of polyphenols. The more robust and bitter the oil, the higher the amount of polyphenols.  With every single variety we have, you can not only see that number, but taste it as well.

6 Benefits of Polyphenol Consumption

Polyphenols are available in a wide variety of unprocessed raw vegetables and fruits. With the explosion of polyphenol research and the extensive discussion in scientific journals, potential therapeutic applications for these compounds have been discovered. Here are just a few of the benefits related to polyphenols.

1. Skin Protection
The consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and antioxidant-rich beverages may protect the skin from UV radiation. Resveratrol, a compound in red wine, has active polyphenic qualities that aid in protecting the skin. Other compounds, like silymarin, genistein, delphinidin, pomegranate fruit extract, grape seed, proanthocyanidins, and green tea polyphenols, may also ward off UV damage.

2. Brain Health
The antioxidant effect of polyphenols offers holistic support for the aging neurological system, possibly combating the early onset of dementia-like symptoms. Polyphenols have been linked with lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. Researchers also note that polyphenols offer a holistic approach to neurological health by addressing the complex physiology involved with certain brain disorders.

3. Supports Normal Blood Sugar
Glucose management is an issue for many people in the United States, with about 1 out of every 10 people having type II diabetes or prediabetes. Flavonoids, a group of polyphenols, has displayed beneficial effects for supporting normal blood sugar levels. These flavonoids, typically found in foods like tea and cocoa, appear to enhance insulin secretion, reduce cell death, regulate glucose metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce oxidative stress, and increase glucose uptake by cells.

4. Nutritional Support for Cancer?
While polyphenols won’t cure cancer, research has explored their potential therapeutic role. Some polyphenols appear to offer protection against carcinogens — cancer-causing substances present in food and the environment. Although coffee raises an eyebrow among some health-conscious consumers, research suggests that the polyphenols in coffee may help to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

5. Blood Pressure
Studies indicate flavonoids, like catechins, anthocyanins, and phenolic acids, are important dietary compounds that support normal blood pressure by inhibiting the physiological mechanisms which trigger hypertension.

6. Cardiovascular Health
Polyphenols found in cocoa have been shown to reduce cardiovascular stress through the inhibition of LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, oxidation. These compounds also increase the vasodilation of blood vessels to promote circulation. Keep in mind that organic dark chocolate, 72% cacao and above, is where the benefits have been found. In other words, cheap candy is not good for your health.

The Best Sources of Polyphenols
Natural foods like vegetables, fruits, tea, coffee, and red wine are some of the primary sources of polyphenols. Citrus fruits contain specific types of polyphenols, like flavanones, while other fruits contain a wider range of polyphenols. It’s believed that growing conditions play a substantial role in polyphenol content. To ensure the best and most potent sources of polyphenols from foods, choose produce that is organic and non-GMO. Local foods may also be fresher and more abundant in their natural antioxidant compounds compared with imported varieties.

source: www.globalhealthcenter.com

1 comment

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