The name “polyphenols” is a broad term for many different beneficial compounds from plants, including flavanols, anthocyanins, and phenolic acids. You actually see them every day. The colors of fruits, vegetables, and flowering herbs are polyphenols on a vivid display.
They are strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and account for much of the health effects of a diet that is rich in whole plant foods.
This study found that over a 12-year period, overall mortality was reduced by 30 percent in individuals with the highest intake of polyphenols, about 650 mg or more per day.
Of course, not everyone can (or will) eat a daily diet of fruits, vegetables, teas, and other natural sources, so it may be wise to supplement a healthy diet with a consistent level of polyphenols that include catechins, curcuminoids, and tannin-free oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). Just make sure that the supplemental sources are verified authentic and bioavailable so that your body can get the fullest potential from these incredibly beneficial components.
Zamora-Ros R, Rabassa M, Cherubini A, Urpí-Sardà M, Bandinelli S, Ferrucci L, Andres-Lacueva C. High concentrations of a urinary biomarker of polyphenol intake are associated with decreased mortality in older adults. J Nutr. 2013 Sep;143(9):1445-50. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.177121. Epub 2013 Jun 26. PMID: 23803472; PMCID: PMC3743274.
Polyphenols might have a role in the prevention of several chronic diseases, but evaluating total dietary polyphenol (TDP) intake from self-reported questionnaires is inaccurate and unreliable. A promising alternative is to use total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration as a proxy measure of intake. The current study evaluated the relationship between TUPs and TDPs and all-cause mortality during a 12-y period among older adult participants. The study population included 807 men and women aged 65 y and older from the Invecchiare in Chianti study, a population-based cohort study of older adults living in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy. TUP concentrations were measured at enrolment (1998-2000) using the Folin-Ciocalteau assay after a solid-phase extraction. TDPs were also estimated at baseline throughout a validated food frequency questionnaire and using our database based on USDA and Phenol-Explorer databases. We modeled associations using Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox proportional hazards models, with adjustment for potential confounders. During the 12-y follow-up, 274 participants (34%) died. At enrollment, TUP excretion adjusted for age and sex tended to be greater in participants who survived [163 ± 62 mg gallic acid equivalents (GAE)/d)] than in those who died (143 ± 63 mg GAE/d) (P = 0.07). However, no significant differences were observed for TDPs. In the multivariable Cox model, participants in the highest tertile of TUP at enrolment had a lower mortality rate than those in the lowest tertile [HR = 0.70 (95% CI: 0.49-0.99); P-trend = 0.045], whereas no significant associations were found between TDP and overall mortality. TUP is an independent risk factor for mortality among community-dwelling older adults, suggesting that high dietary intake of polyphenols may be associated with longevity.
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