Polyphenols are natural compounds in plants that have many health benefits. In the body, polyphenols act as antioxidants that can reduce your risk of various diseases. The benefits of these polyphenols can be obtained by eating healthy foods.
Various studies state that polyphenols are useful in preventing damage to body cells due to free radicals and boosting the immune system. These free radical particles can be formed naturally as a result of metabolic processes.
However, the number of free radicals in the body can increase if you are often exposed to pollution, cigarette smoke, long-term sunlight, infections, or eating a lot of foods that are exposed to pesticides.
Types of Polyphenols and Their Sources
Polyphenols that are found in many healthy foods and drinks or certain supplements are generally divided into several types, namely:
Flavonoids can be found in fruits and vegetables as well as foods high in antioxidants, such as apples, oranges, grapes, mangoes, sugar apple, onions, taro, mustard greens, spinach, katuk leaves, and green tea and dark chocolate.
The color of various types of fruit and vegetables, for example in rhubarb and chili, is due to the content of anthocyanins. Not only gives a beautiful color to the eye, this substance also turns out to be a type of polyphenol that is good for health.
- Phenolic Acid
Phenolic acids include stilbenes and lignans, which are found in many fruits, grains, and whole grains. Phenolic acids are also found in coffee and tea, including cascara tea.
- Polyphenol amide
This type of polyphenol can be found in capsaicin in chili peppers and avenanthramides in oats or wheat. Polyphenols are also found in many herbal plants such as Moringa leaves, manjakani, and areca nut. Apart from being an antioxidant, polyphenol amides also have the effect of reducing inflammation. Polyphenols are also found in many cinnamon.
Several other types of polyphenols are resveratrol, which is found in red wine or wine, ellagic AC ID on fruit berries, curcumin in turmeric, and lignans found in flaxseed, sesame seeds, and whole wheat.
Various Benefits of Polyphenols for Body Health
Polyphenols as one type of antioxidant have the effect of reducing the bad effects of free radicals, maintaining a healthy body, and reducing the risk of developing several chronic diseases.
Not only that, polyphenols also have other benefits, including:
1. Prevent cardiovascular disease
Several studies state that polyphenols can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL), as well as increase good cholesterol (HDL).
This effect is seen to prevent the formation of plaque or blockages in blood vessels (atherosclerosis), so the risk of developing cardiovascular disease can be reduced.
2. Lowering blood sugar
Various studies show that a healthy diet that consumes lots of antioxidants has a good effect on reducing the risk of developing diabetes.
Polyphenols can help lower blood sugar levels and encourage the body to produce insulin and use it more effectively. This effect makes blood sugar levels more stable. This effect makes polyphenols one of the best intakes for preventing diabetes mellitus.
3. Lowers the risk of cancer
Polyphenols can suppress the formation and development of cancer cells because of their role as an antidote to free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body.
However, further studies are needed to prove the general benefits of polyphenols as cancer prevention and determine how many doses of polyphenols are needed.
4. Improve memory
Consumption of foods rich in polyphenols can help improve concentration and memory. This is because polyphenols are known to increase blood flow to the brain.
Studies show that a diet rich in polyphenols can reduce the risk of developing memory loss and age-related brain diseases, such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
5. Maintain digestive health
Polyphenols can increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut and help these good bacteria to fight off harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella. Thus, digestive health can always be maintained if you regularly eat foods rich in polyphenols.
In addition to the above benefits, polyphenols are also known to be good for maintaining eye health, skin, maintaining the body's metabolic function, and increasing life expectancy. However, some of these benefits still need to be proven through further research.
The best way to reap the benefits of polyphenols is to eat healthy foods. Apart from food, polyphenols are also available in supplement form. However, it is not yet clear whether polyphenol supplements are as effective as ingredients found in food.
By living a healthy lifestyle and diet, the daily intake of polyphenols is actually sufficient. However, if you have certain health problems or your nutritional intake is lacking, it may be necessary to take supplements containing polyphenols. To determine the type of supplement and the right dose, you can consult further with your doctor.