Antioxidants are compounds widely distributed in the plant kingdom, interest in their study has increased in recent decades because their consumption has been related to the reductionof chronic-degenerative diseases suchas diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases, the which are a serious problem for public health.
There is a wide variety of foods that have been the subject of study for their antioxidant properties and their association with the prevention of these diseases. Among them are polyphenols , a group of natural compounds present in all vascular plants that do not have a nutritional function, that is, they do not provide calories to the body nor are they like vitamins or minerals, but they are bioactive substances that can benefit us in different ways. .
Since polyphenols are found in numerous foods and participate in various biological processes, it is not easy to investigate them. According to current studies, polyphenols could contribute to the prevention of chronic and cardiovascular diseases, in addition to “feed the brain” and improve cognitive function and prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Types of polyphenols
Flavonoids, quercetin, lignin and lignan, kamferol, resveratrol, catechins and others are part of the polyphenols that we can find in some foods
. Three large groups are: tannins, lignins and flavonoids.Tannins
: They stand out for their effects on the cardiovascular system.They are capable of reducing blood pressure levels and the oxidation of lipoproteins of the VLDL series, generating greater efficiency in the functioning of the heart
Flavonoids:They stand out for their anti-inflammatory power and their ability to reduce the incidence of complex pathologies, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. Some of them have demonstrated their effectiveness in preventing neurodegenerative disorders
. Lignins: They are compounds responsible for giving turgidity and rigidity to the cell wall of plant cells. Its intake can cause less absorption at the intestinal level of certain nutrients or substances, such as cholesterol. They are also capable of interacting with bile acids, improving their function.
Foods rich in polyphenols
These compounds that also have an anti-inflammatory effectIn our body we can find them, in general, in nuts, whole grains, legumes, cocoa, fruits and vegetables, especially cabbages, onions, citrus fruits and red fruits.
Vegetables in general , especially berries, onions, garlic, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, beets or eggplant.
Fruits, such as Kiwis, blueberries, apples, orange grapefruit and red fruits.
Legumes and whole grains that are a source of flavonoids, lignins and lignans.
Cocoa or chocolate with a high degree of purity that offer flavonoids with antioxidant action.
Extra virgin olive oil source of the well-known oleocanthal and other phenolic compounds.
Tea, especially black tea and green tearich in tannins and catechins, respectively.
Red wine, has catechins in large proportions.
Nuts and seeds that provide ligans and lignins.