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Power up your health with Polyphenols

Monday May 17, 2021
Power up your health with Polyphenols

Photo captain: Elderberries are a rich source of polyphenols and Viridian’s Ingredient of the Year 2021.

From anti-ageing to promoting heart and skin health, polyphenols have been studied for a wide range of positive health benefits. We unveil the polyphenol rich-foods and how they can support your health.


  • Polyphenols act as antioxidants which is associated with promoting heart and skin health.  
  • Polyphenols are considered to be useful in countering the symptoms of allergies such as allergic rhinitis (or hay fever) by inhibiting the release of histamine.
  • They can promote a healthy growth of gut bacteria, as prebiotics and selective anti-microbial activity.
  • Contemporary research has revealed several benefits to health from pine bark and grape seed derived OPCs (a form of polyphenols).

  • Introduction

    Plants and plant compounds have been recognised for their benefits through several ages.  Often used as ‘medicine’ prior to the development of conventional treatments and healthcare.


    Modern research has revealed which compounds exert beneficial effects and one especially valuable plant compound is oligomeric proanthocyanidins.

    What are OPCs?

    Oligomeric proanthocyanidins are referred to as OPCs.  They belong to a family of plant-based botanicals called polyphenols.  Discovered in 1947 by Jacques Masquelier, who also developed the techniques for the extraction of OPCs from pine bark and grape seeds.  It is estimated that over 8,000 polyphenols are present in the plant kingdom.  Contemporary research has revealed several benefits to health from pine bark and grape seed derived OPCs.  These include benefits to skin, heart, and blood vessel health. 

    Understanding polyphenols

    Polyphenols are found in various foods such as apples, grapes, pine bark, cinnamon, tea leaves and several berries and are related to the pigmentation of the plant, fruit, or spice. Berries, for example, have one of the densest distribution of polyphenols and this is recognisable by their bright red or deep purple-black pigments.  These compounds are not involved in the growth and development of a plant but offer protection and contribute to plant survival.  It is this benefit that attracted research interest.  


    Polyphenols and their properties

    Polyphenols can act as antioxidant compounds and offer protection from oxidative damage to tissues.  Antioxidant activity is associated with promoting heart and skin health.

     
    Polyphenols are considered to be useful in countering the symptoms of allergies.  Studies show that polyphenols can stop the release of histamine and interrupt the inflammatory cascade which results in a reduction of symptoms.


    In addition, the absorption rate of polyphenols is low, and so, they are considered to play a role in the gastrointestinal tract as prebiotics, these are fibres that are fermented by the resident bacteria to produce beneficial compounds.

     

    Commonly found polyphenols 

    Polyphenols are grouped molecular similarities which are generally associated by the pigment of the food in which they are found. This naturally divides them into 5 groups, flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, lignans and others. Below are some commonly found polyphenols and their uses.

    • Proanthocyanidin are formed via the condensation of flavanols and are responsible for purple hues in fruits, berries (such as bilberries), and spices.  These compounds are known to exert an antioxidant effect which may contribute to heart and skin health besides reducing the symptoms of allergies.
    • Quercetin is a flavanol found in vegetables and fruits, especially apples and onions.  The properties of quercetin lie in histamine regulation and its ability to quell oxidative damage.
    • Anthocyanidins are a sub class of flavonoids which are responsible for red and blue pigments found in foods such as blackberrries, cranberries, blueberries and pommegranates.  These compounds have been associated with macular and skin health.

     

     Photo caption: Above, Turmeric contains polyphenolic pigment known as curcuminoids, which gives the plant its vibrant orange colour.

    • Curcuminoids are the primary group of polyphenols found in turmeric which are responsible for the orange pigment.  This group of compounds are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
    • Resveratrol belongs to the stilbene group of polyphenols that present a deep red pigment found in grapes and nuts.  Studies show that resveratrol may be involved in heart health and cellular anti-ageing.
    • Ellagitannins include ellagic acid, punicalin and punicalagin, these compounds are present in pomegranates, strawberries, and walnuts.  They are suggested to exert cellular anti-ageing and heart benefits.
    • Catechins which include gallic acid, epicatchin and epigallocatechin-3-gallate, are found abundantly in green tea and are considered potent antioxidants.

    Photo caption:  Resveratrol belongs to the stilbene group of polyphenols that present a deep red pigment found in grapes and nuts.  Studies show that resveratrol may be involved in heart health and cellular anti-ageing.

     

    Conclusion

    By eating the rainbow, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help ensure a high intake of polyphenols and the added benefits. Where possible choose foods certified organic for optimum nutrition. When considering food supplements opt for high quality version with 100% active ingredients, free from additives, sugar and bulking or flow agents. To discuss your personal food supplement requirements, contact your nearest local health food stores by visiting www.findahealthstore.com

    Author: Jenny Carson is a Nutritional Practitioner and Technical Services Manager at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Nutritional Science and is a Master of Research (MRes) in Public Health.


    References
    Ataka, S., Tanaka, M., Nozaki, S., Mizuma, H., Mizuno, K., Tahara, T., Sugino, T., Shirai, T., Kajimoto, Y., Kuratsune, H. and Kajimoto, O., 2007. Effects of Applephenon® and ascorbic acid on physical fatigue. Nutrition, 23(5), pp.419-423.

    Enomoto T, Nagasako-Akazome Y, Kanda T, Ikeda M, Dake Y. Clinical effects of apple polyphenols on persistent allergic rhinitis: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled parallel arm study. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2006;16(5):283-9.

    Kawabata, Kyuichi et al. “Role of Intestinal Microbiota in the Bioavailability and Physiological Functions of Dietary Polyphenols.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 24,2 370. 21 Jan. 2019.
    Nagasako-Akazome Y, Kanda T, Ikeda M, Shimasaki H. Serum Cholesterol-Lowering Effect of Apple Polyphenols in Healthy Subjects. J Oleo Sci. 2005; 54(3): 143-151

    Shoji, T., Yamada, M., Miura, T., Nagashima, K., Ogura, K., Inagaki, N. and Maeda-Yamamoto, M., 2017. Chronic administration of apple polyphenols ameliorates hyperglycaemia in high-normal and borderline subjects: A randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Diabetes research and clinical practice, 129, pp.43-51.


    The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.



    Commonly found polyphenols

     

    TAGS: NewsAllergies, polyphenols, elderberry

     

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