The increased inclination towards weight loss through nutrition and the trend of developing a healthier lifestyle has led to the popularization of many micronutrients. You might’ve heard about protein shakes, omega 3, folic acid, vitamin B12, noni juice and many more such supplements coming into the spotlight. Well, polyphenols are one such compound that came into limelight for their multiple benefits.
So, what are Polyphenols?Polyphenols are the naturally occurring micronutrients found in certain fruits, vegetables, berries, dark chocolate and red wine. They are usually plant compounds. They are believed to have certain health benefits. Polyphenols are believed to enhance digestion, reduce inflammation, might prevent and maintain type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, help to control obesity, dementia, degenerative diseases and cardiac ailments. Polyphenols are commonly found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, spices, tea, dark chocolate, red wine and many more daily elements of the staple diet.
Types of PolyphenolsThere are more than 8000 types of discovered polyphenols. They can be categorized into the following four chief types (let’s get that scientific mumbo jumbo out of the way)-
- Flavonoids – This is the most common polyphenol found in everyday foodstuffs that constitute our daily diet. Flavonoids include quercetin, catechin, anthocyanins, etc.(since they are unpronounceable, they must be very effective, you can bet on that). They are typically found in foods like dark chocolates, apples, onions.
- Phenolic acids - These are the second most common type of polyphenol. It contributes to 30% of all polyphenols. They include stilbenes and lignans which are mostly found in the majority of the fruits, vegetables, whole grains and seeds.
- Polyphenolic amides - The polyphenolic amides are abundant in spices and herbs. This category includes capsaicinoids which are prominent in chilli peppers and avenanthramides in oats.
- Other polyphenols – Some other types of polyphenols are lignans in flax seeds or sesame seeds, resveratrol in red wine, ellagic acid usually found in berries and curcumin found in turmeric.
Okay, so where would you find it?Almost all the plant-derived foods like fruit, vegetables (including our favourite broccoli), legumes, grains, beans, etc. contain polyphenols.
- Fruits and Berries – Blueberries, apples, oranges, peaches, plums, strawberries, blackcurrants, apricots, cherries, grapes, raspberries and almost all fruit.
- Vegetables–onions, potatoes, olives, carrots, spinach, broccoli, beans, red lettuce, etc.
- Dry fruits–Hazelnuts, almonds, chestnuts, pecans.
- Herbs and Spices – Star anise, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, thyme, basil, oregano, peppermint, saffron, ginger, rosemary, etc. Preferably, the herbs and spices should be consumed dry.
- Other foods–Whole grains, oats, flax seeds, sesame seeds, rye, tofu, tea, wine, coffee, olive oil, dark chocolate, soyabean, cocoa powder and many more.