Polyphenols are one of the most important organic compounds. The most numerous among the groups of phytochemicals present in the plant kingdom has become an emerging field of interest in nutrition in recent decades.
Currently, over 8000 polyphenolic structures have been identified, of which Flavonoids comprise the most studied group of polyphenols with more than 4000 belonging to the class of flavonoids, many of which are responsible for the attractive colors of the flowers, fruits, and leaves. Based on the variation in the type of heterocycle involved, flavonoids may be divided into six subclasses: flavonols, flavones, flavanones, flavonols, anthocyanins isoflavones, and other groups of Polyphenols occur in edible plants as Phenolic acids, Lignans, Stilbenes.
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found mainly in fruits, vegetables, cereals, and beverages.
Amla (Gooseberry) consists of Gallic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Quercetin and Kaempferol etc.
Oranges consist of Naringin, Hesperidin, etc.
Ginger consists of Gingerols, Zingiberene, and Zingiberols etc
Grapes/Wine contains Resveratrol, Anthocyanins, etc.
Extra virgin olive oil consists of hydroxytyrosol,
Chocolate or Tea, mainly Green Tea, rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Flax seeds, Sesame seeds, and whole grains consist of Lignans and stilbenes.
Bioavailability of Polyphenols:
Polyphenols, which occur abundantly in many plants, are considered the most active constituents to alleviate metabolic syndrome both in vitro and in vivo. To date, a significant number of research works and reviews have addressed the bio-efficient effect of phenolic compounds; however, the considerable diversity of their structures and in vivo bioavailability make them affect different signaling pathways. First, polyphenols will be hydrolyzed by enzymes in the intestinal before absorption. A large portion of polyphenolic compounds consist of several hydroxyl groups, enzymatically catalyzed by methylation or sulfation. However, 5%–10% of total polyphenolic compounds will be absorbed
in the small intestine. The rest of the polyphenols may be accumulated in the large intestinal and excreted. During absorption, polyphenols are often conjugated in the small intestine and later in the liver.
Potential Health Benefits of Polyphenols:
Antioxidant and immune-boosting: Polyphenols in such as Amla, Guduchi, Mango, Turmeric, Sida cardifolia etc. have got immense antioxidant activity which scavenges acid-free radicles and reduces oxidative stress and also increases resistance against various diseases by providing protective barrier multiple pathogens.
Cardiovascular health: Flavonoid-rich foods like Grapes, Arjuna, Orange etc. have been associated with improved ventricular health, reduced platelet activity, enzymatic modulation, anti-inflammatory effects, and lower blood pressure, to increase overall vascular health. Flavonoids and resveratrol may block cholesterol oxidation to lower LDL and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lowers the Risk of Diabetes: Polyphenols in Gymnema, Fenugreek, Curcumin, Amla, Blackberries etc. may help reduce your blood sugar levels, contributing to lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
These compounds may also help stimulate the secretion of insulin, a hormone that helps in Glucose metabolism.
Weight Management: Polyphenols from Garcinia, Commifera, Catechin etc. have got fat metabolism; appetite suppressant action helps manage weight.
Promotes Healthy Digestion: Polyphenols from Ginger, Pepper, Asafoetida, may benefit digestion by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria while fending off harmful ones; also, they act as carminative, digestive etc.
Tones Brain Function: Polyphenols from Centella Asiatica, Bacopa, Shankapushpi, etc. helps in enhancing memory, learning abilities, and also increasing dopamine levels in Parkinsonism, Alzheimer’s disease; hence polyphenols play a vital role in neurodegenerative disorders.
Hence consumption of Polyphenols or polyphenol-rich diets with a healthy lifestyle provides significant protection against the development and progression of many disorders, including Physiological and Pathological Conditions, through their immense health benefits.
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