POLYPHENOL, Glossary and Terms, Meat, Fish, Fruit, Grocery Food Stores

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Polyphenols are a group of chemical substances found in plants. Research indicates that the flavonoids, a class of polyphenols, has antioxidant characteristics with potential health benefits that may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Polyphenols are potent antioxidant compounds that have demonstrated greater antioxidant protection than vitamins C and E. Green tea may also increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes. Green tea polyphenols may inhibit cancer by blocking the formation of cancer-causing compounds and suppressing the activation of carcinogens. The major polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids: catechin, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and proanthocyanidins. Though both green tea and black tea are derived from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), they contain different antioxidants. In producing black tea, the leaves are allowed to oxidize; during the process, enzymes present in the tea convert many polyphenols to larger molecules with different biological effects. However, green tea is produced by lightly steaming the fresh-cut leaf, which inactivates these enzymes, and oxidation does not occur. Sources of polyphenols include peanuts, green tea, white tea, red wine, olive oil, dark chocolate, pomegranates and other fruits and vegetables. Chocolate or cocoa that has been processed with alkali ("dutched" cocoa) will not contain any polyphenols or antioxidants.
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