Polyphenols are compounds that occur largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals. More than 8,000 different phenolic compounds have been identified in plants. Polyphenols have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti=carcinogenic, etc. effects.
A new study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, has associated high polyphenols intake and levels with a 30% reduction in mortality in adults.
The research is based on a 12-year follow-up of a population sample composed by 807 men and women aged 65 or over from Greve and Bagno (Tuscany, Italy), within the InCHIANTI study.
Professor Cristina Andrés Lacueva, head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group of the UB and coordinator of the study, explains that “the development and use of nutritional biomarkers enables to make a more precise and, particularly, more objective estimation of intake as it is not only based on participants’ memory when answering questionnaire. Nutritional biomarkers take into account bioavailabity and individual differences.”
The findings conclusively demonstrate that overall mortality was reduced by 30% in participants who had rich-polyphenol diets (>650 mg/day) in comparison with the control group who had low-polyphenol intakes (<500 mg/day). A prior study had illustrated the benefits of a polyphenol enriched diet derived from fruit with a content 5 times more potent than the extracted version found in apple, peach and nectarines. Polyphenol content in fruits usually refers to extractable polyphenols, but a Spanish scientist working at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich analyzed apple, peach and nectarine content. The research led by Professor Fulgencio Saura-Calixto, has demonstrated that nonextractable polyphenols, which mostly escape analysis and are not usually considered in nutritional studies, are a major part of bio-active compounds in the diet, creating metabolites that are beneficial for anti-oxidant activity. “These polyphenols are major constituents of the human diet with important health properties. To consider them in nutritional and epidemiological research may be useful for a better understanding of the effects of plant foods in health,” says Professor Saura-Calixto. Source R. Zamora-Ros, M. Rabassa, A. Cherubini, M. Urpi-Sarda, S. Bandinelli, L. Ferrucci, C. Andres-Lacueva. High Concentrations of a Urinary Biomarker of Polyphenol Intake Are Associated with Decreased Mortality in Older Adults. Journal of Nutrition, 2013; 143 (9): 1445 DOI: 10.3945/jn.113.177 Sara Arranz, Fulgencio Saura-Calixto, Shika Shaha, Paul A. Kroon. High Contents of Nonextractable Polyphenols in Fruits Suggest That Polyphenol Contents of Plant Foods Have Been Underestimated. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2009; 57 (16): 7298 DOI: 10.1021/jf9016652