Polyphenols are a type of plant compound with several health benefits when consumed regularly. It is a micronutrient obtained by consuming plant-based foods. Polyphenols are found in several foods, herbs, and spices. Foods that are highest in polyphenols include tea, dark chocolate, red wine, and berries. The amount and type of polyphenols in foods varies, depending on the food, its origin, ripeness, the way it is farmed, transported, stored, and prepared. Supplements containing polyphenols are available as well, but they are less beneficial than consuming polyphenol-rich foods.
A program to observe the effect of cocoa compounds (a polyphenol) on blood pressure in 2012, Cochrane meta-analysis, shows 35 studies on 1804 individuals. At the intake of 4.4 weeks, flavanol-rich cocoa products significantly reduced the blood pressure compared with low-flavanol-containing cocoa powder or flavanol-free interventions by 1.8/1.8 mmHg.
Some possible health benefits include:
- Decreases blood sugar levels
- Decreases the risk of heart disease
- Improves the health of blood vessels
- Acts as an antioxidant and scavenges free radicals
- Prevents the formation of blood clots in blood vessels
- Decreases the risk of cancer
- Improves digestion
- Improves brain function
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Slows aging
- Improves the health of the skin
- It is good for the eyes
- Reduces the risk of dementia and memory loss in people across all age groups
What are the types of polyphenols?
There are more than eight thousand different types of polyphenols and they are categorized into 4 main groups:
- Flavonoids: They make up around 60% of all polyphenols. Examples include quercetin, kaempferol, and catechins. They are commonly found in foods like apples, onions, red cabbage, and dark chocolate.
- Phenolic acids: These make up for around 30% of all polyphenols. Examples include stilbenes and lignans. They are usually found in fruits, vegetables, seeds, and whole grains.
- Polyphenolic amides: They include capsaicinoids, usually found in bell peppers and jalapeños, and avenanthramides that are found in oats.
- Other polyphenols: These include resveratrol in red wine, curcumin in turmeric, ellagic acid in berries, lignans in flax seeds, sesame seeds, and whole grains.
Terpene lactones and ginkgo flavone glycosides are a special type of polyphenol present in the leaf of a tree called Ginkgo biloba. These are among the popular phenols present in the market. They have shown numerous health benefits. The effects of these polyphenols are being studied in memory problems, psychiatric issues, skin problems, and eye problems. It has been known to reduce the symptoms of vertigo and ringing in the ear in some individuals if taken for a long time, i.e. 1 year.
Foods that are rich in polyphenols:
- Grapes (especially the purple grape, seeded variety)
- Black and red currants
- Red and yellow onions
- Black beans
- White beans
Nuts and seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Whole wheat
Herbs and spices
- Dried spearmint
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Gharras HE. Polyphenols: Food Sources, Properties and Applications – A review. Institute of Food Science & Technology. November 17, 2009. https://ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2009.02077.x
Forman JP. Diet in the Treatment and Prevention of Hypertension. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/diet-in-the-treatment-and-prevention-of-hypertension?search=polyphenol&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~45&usage_type=default&display_rank=1
Saper RB. Clinical Use of Ginkgo Biloba. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-use-of-ginkgo-biloba?search=polyphenol&source=search_result&selectedTitle=3~45&usage_type=default&display_rank=3
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Body Blood Sugar LevelsHigh blood sugar can be a sign of diabetes or prediabetes. The drugs that treat it sometimes cause low blood sugar too. WebMD helps guide you through the effects of both.
High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar is a serious health problem for diabetics. There are two types of hyperglycemia, 1) fasting, and 2)postprandial or after meal hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can also lead to ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). There are a variety of causes of hyperglycemia in people with diabetes.
Symptoms of high blood sugar may include increased thirst, headaches, blurred vision, and frequent urination.Treatment can be achieved through lifestyle changes or medications changes. Carefully monitoring blood glucose levels is key to prevention.
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar is dangerously low and is often complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Learn about symptoms, dangers, and treatment.
Normal Blood Sugar Levels In Adults with Diabetes
People with diabetes can manage and prevent low or high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia) by keeping a log of your blood sugar levels when you are eating and fasting and eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar, for example, buttered potatoes, candy, sugary desserts, and fatty foods.
Blood tests, for example, the hemoglobin A1c test (A1c test) and urinalysis can diagnose the type of diabetes the person has. Diabetes during pregnancy, called gestational diabetes, should be managed by you and your OB/GYN or another healthcare professional.
Extremely high levels of blood glucose in the blood can be dangerous and life threatening if you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes.
If you or someone that you are with has extremely high blood glucose levels, call 911 or go to your nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Department immediately.
To prevent and manage high blood glucose levels in people with diabetes keep a log of your blood sugar levels, eat foods that are high in carbohydrates sugar, for example, buttered potatoes, candy, sugary deserts, and fatty foods that you can share with your doctor and other healthcare professionals.
Diabetes: What Raises and Lowers Your Blood Sugar Level?Want to lower your blood sugar? Learn to better control your glucose levels by preventing blood sugar spikes and swings to avoid neuropathy and other diabetes complications. Find foods that lower blood sugar, and identify foods and activities that raise high blood sugar risks.