Polyphenols - top foods for health

Polyphenols - top foods for health

Some 502 polyphenols are found in foods; the richest sources and the best foods and drinks are all listed here; as a diet rich in polyphenols can protect and even correct against most of the main types of cancer; both Professor Robert Thomas and Chris Woollams both advocate a polyphenol-rich diet over supplementation.

Two ways of measuring polyphenol-rich food

Polyphenols are a large class of antioxidants and measuring dietary polyphenol content is not especially difficult these days; the issue is whether it is relevant to rank foods by the richest sources - those containing the highest amounts - or by those for which a normal serving size contains the most. For example, cloves appear to contain the highest amounts of different polyphenols and top the first list, but you might not fancy a plate full of cloves! Once you start measuring by amount consumed in a normal meal, filter coffee and pomegranate juice appear out of nowhere into the top polyphenol foods list!

The comprehensive EU sponsored 'Phenol-Explorer Database' showed that there were 502 different polyphenols across 452 foods. The richest sources were seasonings, cocoa products, dark coloured berries, then flax and other seeds, certain nuts, and vegetables such as olives and artichokes.

In terms of normal serving sizes there are 89 foods you can consume easily in your daily diet programme. Fruits (especially berries, apples and black grapes), teas, filter coffee, red wine, nuts (hazlenuts, pecans), flaxseed, vegetables (olives and broccoli) then dominate the list.

So here is a guide to how to eat yourself healthier!

   * All the foods below in red were in the top 100 for polyphenol content;

   * Or in blue were in the top 50 foods by normal portion size;

   * Or In green, they were on both lists.

The headings are in order of the richest sources; the foods under each heading are in order of the richest sources. You are looking for greens, then blues, but can throw in a few reds wheever you want.

  1. Seasonings Cloves, celery seed, peppermint, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, capers, vinegar, turmeric
  2. Cocoa products Dark chocolate and cocoa powder
  3. Berries Black chokeberry, black elderberry, blackcurrant, blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry
  4. Other fruits Plum, sweet cherry, prunes, black grape, apple, peach, red currant, apricot, nectarine, pomegranate, quince, pear, green grape
  5. Seeds and beans Flaxseed, chestnut, hazelnut, pecan, soy flour, almond, soy, black bean, white bean, walnut, tempeh, whole grain rye bread
  6. Vegetables Black olive, green olive, globe artichoke heads, red chicory, green chicory, spinach, shallots, yellow onion, broccoli, asparagus, potato, red lettuce, red onion
  7. Drinks Black tea, red wine, green tea, pure apple juice, pure blood orange juice, pure grapefruit juice**, pure lemon juice, white wine, rose wine, pure pomegranate juice, black filter coffee

NB:

    *   Polyphenol supplementation can sometimes interfere with blood iron levels.
   **  People on chemotherapy should be aware that grapefruit products may conflict with the chemotherapy or statin drug they are taking and also grapefruit can block natural ways of reducing oestrogen and aromatisation.

Go to: A list of drugs with which grapefruit conflicts

2019 Research
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