What are Polyphenols and why do they matter?
Polyphenols are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in plants. They are a type of antioxidant that can help protect the body against damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Polyphenols are known for their diverse range of health benefits and have been studied extensively for their potential to prevent or treat various health conditions.
Polyphenols have numerous health benefits for the body. They can help improve cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation and improving blood flow. They also have anti-cancer properties and can help protect against certain types of cancer. Polyphenols may also have a positive effect on brain function and could help improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
What Foods Contain Polyphenols:
Polyphenols are found in a wide variety of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Some of the best dietary sources of polyphenols include:
- Berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
- Grapes (and red wine)
- Citrus fruits (such as oranges and lemons)
- Tea (both green and black)
- Dark chocolate
- Fresh Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Spices (such as cinnamon, cloves, and turmeric)
Health Benefits of Polyphenols:
There are numerous health benefits associated with consuming polyphenols. Some of the most notable benefits include:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Improved brain function
- Reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases
- Improved digestive health
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
Health Claim from the European Union for Polyphenols:
The European Union has approved a health claim for polyphenols that states, "Olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress." This means that consuming foods rich in polyphenols, such as extra virgin olive oil, can help protect against oxidative stress, which can lead to damage to blood lipids and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Why Polyphenols in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Matter:
Extra virgin olive oil is a particularly good source of polyphenols. These compounds have been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health. Polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil can also help protect against oxidative stress, which is a major contributor to many chronic diseases. It is important to note that the polyphenol content of olive oil can vary depending on the type of olive and the method of extraction, so it is important to choose high-quality extra virgin olive oil from a reputable source to ensure maximum polyphenol content.