Polyphenols are not a uniform group of substances but occur as secondary plant substances, as dyes, tannins, or flavorings in plants.

For the human organism, polyphenols are of particular importance because they are getting considered to be beneficial to health.

Polyphenols occur naturally in many types of fruit and vegetables. Here are the foods high in polyphenols.

 

Foods rich in polyphenols

Polyphenols are predominantly getting found in the outer layers of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Particularly rich in phenolic acids are kale 1-1.5 g/kg, whole wheat 0.5 g/kg, and fresh soft fruits about 1 g/kg.

Green or black tea, walnuts, and grapes also contain many phenolic acids. Even coffee is getting represented by 7 mg of caffeic acid per cup. It is even said to provide the most beneficial polyphenols, which is why some doctors already recommend two or one cups of coffee per day.

Rich in flavonoids is fruit peels such as grapes or apples and outer layers of vegetables.

For example, Vine leaves or berry skin, olive leaves, broccoli, endive, kale, onions, cranberries, tomato juice, red wine with more than 50 mg/kg.

A little less, approximately 10-50 mg/kg, is found in orange juice, tomatoes, apples, cherries, and grapes.

Beetroot juice, onions, nuts, grains, and soybeans also contain many polyphenols and, as mentioned above, red wine.

Due to its production process and because the berry skins, in particular, are rich in polyphenols, it contains more of them than white wine.

Especially the dark Burgundy grapes are optimal polyphenol suppliers.

Beer drinkers should switch to red wine. A high polyphenol content characterizes beer is the dark varieties, especially Guinness.

 

List of Foods that are High in Polyphenols

All these data have been getting gathered from this “Identification of the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols” scientific study source.

 

Polyphenol content in Cloves and Spices

Spices usually contain a very high amount of polyphenols.

  • The best is the clove with 15.188mg high in polyphenols content per 100g. 
  • The dried peppermint comes after all also on 11.960mg to 100g. 
  • Star anise also has a considerable amount of 5,460mg polyphenols per 100g.

Spices can be getting used in different variations.

 

Polyphenol content in Raw Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate

The effect of the polyphenols from cocoa can be hindered by the addition of milk, as the casein in milk binds to these substances.

  • Cocoa powder is a portion of food with 3,448mg of high polyphenols content per 100g. 
  • Dark chocolate minimum with 85% still contained 1.664mg per 100g. 

 

Polyphenol content in Dark Wild Berries

Berries are an ideal source of polyphenols because they contain a wealth of natural colorants. Above all, blueberries with their valuable coloring agent Anthocyanins.

  • Red raspberries have 215 mg polyphenols per 100g.
  • Blueberries have 560 mg polyphenols per 100g. 
  • Strawberries have mg polyphenols per 100g. 
  • Blackberries have 260 mg polyphenols per 100g. 

The berry with the most significant amount of polyphenols is chokeberry, which contains more than 1,700 mg of polyphenols per 100g.

 

Polyphenol content in Fruits

Berries are not the only fruits with many polyphenols. According to food experts, a large number of fruits contain a high number of polyphenols. 

These include:

  • Apples have 136 mg polyphenols per 100g.
  • Black currants have 758 mg of polyphenols per 100g.
  • Sweet cherries have 274 mg polyphenols per 100g.
  • Plums have 377 mg polyphenols per 100g.

 

Polyphenol content in Nuts

Nuts not only contain healthy fatty acids and vegetable protein but often have a high polyphenol content. One study found significant amounts of polyphenols in several raw and roasted nuts.

  • Pecans have 493 mg of polyphenols per 100g.
  • Hazelnuts have 495 mg polyphenols per 100g.
  • Almonds have 187 mg of polyphenols per 100g.
  • Walnuts have 28 mg polyphenols per 100g.

 

Polyphenol content in Vegetables

Vegetables are not only an excellent source of valuable fiber but also contain a considerable amount of polyphenols.

  • Spinach has 119 mg of polyphenols per 100g.
  • Artichokes have 260 mg polyphenols per 100g.
  • Red onions have 168 mg polyphenols per 100g.
  • Chicory has 166-235 mg polyphenols per 100g.

 

Polyphenol content in Black and Green Tea

Black and green teas contain many polyphenols in addition to fruits, nuts, and vegetables rich in fiber. Black tea contains 102mg of polyphenols per 100ml and green tea 89mg per 100ml.

If the contained vitamins and amino acids, such as L-theanine, are essential to you, you should pour hot water over the tea at a temperature of 50-70°C to avoid destroying them by the heat. 

You can increase the number of polyphenols by pour boiling water over the tea. However, this can destroy some vitamins and amino acids. It also makes the tea taste very bitter and tart.

 

Polyphenol content in Coffee

Coffee also contains considerable amounts of polyphenols. In a study, it was getting shown that both decaffeinated coffee and coffee containing caffeine stimulates the process of autophagy. The polyphenols contained in coffee were held responsible for this.

It is essential to note that the polyphenols from tea and coffee can be impeded in their effect by the addition of milk. Therefore you should instead use a nut milk such as almond milk or coconut milk. Furthermore, pasture butter does not seem to hinder the effect of the polyphenols.

 

Polyphenol content in Red Wine

100ml red wine contains 101mg of polyphenols. A considerable amount. However, if you compare it with the foods as mentioned earlier, the amount is relativized quite quickly. If you add the factor alcohol, it is questionable whether regular consumption of wine contributes to general health.

 

Foods with Polyphenols content

PolyphenolsFoods
AnthocyaninsRed, blue and purple fruits and vegetables
ApigeninCelery, parsley, artichokes, basil
CapsaicinChili
CarotenoidsBroccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green vegetables, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, melons, citrus fruits
CoumarinsCucumbers, parsley
CyanidinCherries, red cabbage
DaidzeinSoybeans, soy products (tofu, soy milk)
Epicatechin gallateGreen tea
Flavanols (Catechins)Red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, apples, sweet cherry, apricot
FlavoneLeaf spices
FlavonoidsGrapefruits, oranges, mandarins
FurfuralBeetroot
GenisteinSoybeans, soy products (tofu, soy milk)
GlucarateWholemeal cereals and products, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers
HesperidinGrapefruits, oranges, mandarins
IsoflavonesLegumes, soybeans, soy products (tofu, soy milk)
IndolesBroccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi
IsothiocyanatesCabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot
Camphor oilEndive
CurcuminTurmeric, curry
lignansLinseed, soybeans, soy products (tofu, soy milk)
LuteolinPeppers, parsley, artichokes
MalvidinBlue Grapes
MonoterpenesGarlic, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, citrus fruits, parsley, carrots, celery, cucumbers, pumpkin, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, fennel
NaringeninGrapefruits, oranges, mandarins
Phenolic acidsGreen vegetables, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, celery, parsley, cucumbers, pumpkin, melons, citrus fruits, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers
PhthalidesCarrots, celery, parsley, fennel
PhytatesSoybeans, soy products (tofu, soy milk), whole grain cereals and whole-grain products
PolyacetylenesFennel, celery, parsley, carrots
QuercetinOnions, apples, kale, blackberries, cranberries, chives
SulfidesGarlic, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, onions
TriterpenesGarlic, soybeans, wholemeal cereals, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin, eggplants, peppers

 

 

Difference between Phenolic Acids and Flavonoids

Phenolic acids have antioxidative and partly also anticarcinogenic effects. They are mostly contained as tannic acids in plants and are responsible for a slightly tart taste like black tea. They can be used, for example, to protect against heart disease and cancer. Phenolic acids include, for example, Ferulic acid from cereals and rice, caffeic acid in coffee, or ellagic acid in green tea.

Why these polyphenols protect the heart? Because of its ability to prevent fat oxidation and reduce platelet aggregation. 

Flavonoids are the most frequently occurring polyphenols in food. They are getting found in fruit, vegetables, and herbs in the form of water-soluble plant pigments. Cherries or grapes get their intense colors from flavonoids. Flavonoids can be getting divided into the following subgroups, and the respective groups differ in their functions:

  • Flavanones in oranges
  • Flavones in peppers, celery
  • Flavonols in onions, endive
  • Flavanols in apples, red wine
  • Isoflavonoids in soybeans
  • Anthocyanins in cherries, dark or blue grapes

 

The Effects of Polyphenols

Polyphenols have health-promoting properties, and many studies also show positive effects on various diseases.

Polyphenols effects are:

  • Anticoagulant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anticarcinogenic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antioxidative
  • Blood glucose level lowering
  • Blood pressure regulating

Various studies show that the administration of fruits with high polyphenol content promotes a reduced incidence of cancer. Besides, polyphenols protect the body cells from free radicals, slow down cell oxidation, and thus counteract the aging process.

Another positive example of polyphenols on the development of diseases: The consumption of red wine and the resveratrol it contains is getting blamed for the low incidence of coronary heart disease in France. It is why it is also known as the French Paradox

 

Health Benefits of Polyphenols

 

Polyphenols on Treatment of Cerebral Infarctions

The polyphenol taxifolin from the larch extract is widely getting used in the treatment of cerebral infarctions and their sequelae.

As you can see, polyphenols cover a wide range of effects and protect the body from many diseases of civilization. 

Many studies show that the consumption of natural polyphenols has a promising effect on general health and the prevention of various diseases. In combination with high quality and fresh ingredients, it is a real blessing for the body.

Scientific studies source

 

Polyphenols in arteriosclerosis

The polyphenol groups’ flavonoids and anthocyanins, which are getting found in dark berries, for example, protect the body’s cells from free radicals and inhibit cell oxidation. It is particularly interesting that they can reduce plaques in the blood vessels and thus prevent arteriosclerosis.

For example, a human study showed that after a year’s consumption of pomegranates, the thickness of the inner vascular wall of the carotid artery was reduced by up to 30% in patients with arteriosclerosis. In comparison, it increased by 9% in the control group.

It improves not only blood flow but also the elasticity of the vascular walls.

Scientific studies source

 

Polyphenols for Spontaneous Hair Loss

In a study of female mice that developed spontaneous hair loss on the head, neck, and back, the addition of green tea polyphenol extract to their drinking water resulted in healthy hair regrowth in 33% of the mice during a six-month treatment. In contrast, the control group showed no change in hair loss.

However, this is a spontaneous hair loss. Dear men with hereditary hair loss: Green tea is healthy, but it is no miracle cure for a bald head.

In a study by the University of Pennsylvania, it was getting shown that men with bald heads are more likely to have hair loss. The scientists found that bald men were more successful and more intelligent overall.

Scientific studies source

 

Polyphenols on Cancer Cells

Besides, various studies with pomegranate polyphenols have shown that the polyphenols inhibited the growth of cancer cells in the mammary gland, lung, skin, intestine, and prostate.

Of course, it is not a panacea, and further studies are still needed, but it already points in an exciting direction.

Scientific studies source

 

Polyphenols on Neurodegenerative Diseases

In a study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, it was getting shown that regular consumption of fruit juices can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 76%. Polyphenols were getting blamed for this.

Nevertheless, we recommend consuming fruit as a whole rather than as fruit juice to counteract a large amount of fruit sugar. Specially pasteurized juices no longer contain many micronutrients and burden the liver through the fruit sugar.

Scientific studies source

 

Polyphenols on Caries

But there are also other areas of application. For example, the polyphenols from grapes can prevent the formation of plaque and biofilms on the teeth by inhibiting the bacterial species Streptococcus mutans. In this way, they also have a preventive effect against dental caries.

Scientific studies source

 

 

FAQ Polyphenols

What has the most polyphenols?

These foods contain particularly high levels of polyphenols: Polyphenols are mainly getting found in the outer layers of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Kale (1-1.5 g/kg), whole wheat (0.5 g/kg), and fresh soft fruit (approx. 1 g/kg) are particularly rich in phenolic acids.

How do polyphenols work?

Due to their bactericidal effect, polyphenols inhibit the harmful effects of bacteria and thus also have a preventive effect against dental caries. At the same time, polyphenols from plant foods can bind to digestive enzymes and thus reduce the absorption of nutrients in the intestine.

What do polyphenols do?

Scientists are continually finding new, positive influences of polyphenols on humans in experiments. They have an antioxidant effect, bind free radicals, and can thus inhibit various aging processes. They can regulate blood pressure, prevent fat oxidation, prevent arteriosclerosis, and improve blood lipid levels.

Are flavonoids polyphenols?

Polyphenols are getting found in almost all plants, and they are mainly getting divided into phenolic acids and flavonoids. Polyphenols have many health effects, especially as antioxidants. Flavonoids are mostly getting found as pigments in fruits and vegetables.

 

Conclusion:

Polyphenols are useful compounds in many plant foods, which can be getting divided into flavonoids, phenolic acid, polyphenolic amides, and other polyphenols.

They can improve digestion, brain function, and blood sugar levels, as well as protect against heart disease, blood clots, and certain types of cancer.

Further research is needed to identify effective and safe polyphenol supplementation doses.

It is best to rely on foods rather than supplements to increase the intake of these healthy compounds.

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