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Polyphenols, natural substances present in abundant quantities in our diets and on our tables, there are various types and with different properties. We hear them mentioned when it comes to wine, but also when it comes to oil or fruit, it is therefore not possible to generalize, better understand from time to time what benefits the polyphenols bring and what they measure.
Polyphenols: what they are
This group of natural substances is extremely heterogeneous, in general they are substances that have positive effects on human health and we can also find them named as "vitamin P". From a chemical point of view, polyphenols are molecules composed of more condensed phenolic cycles, with this technical name we want to indicate those organic compounds with one or more hydroxyl groups - OH - linked to an aromatic ring. It's not much simpler, so called, but chemistry is chemistry!
Polyphenols: where they are found
Products in kind since secondary metabolic process of plants, polyphenols can have different roles depending on their chemical composition. There are some that are used by plants to defend against herbivorous animals and are responsible for the unpleasant flavors of some leaves, other times the polyphenols are pathogenic or act as mechanical support as in the case of lignins.
In some plants they serve as barrier against microbial invasion or to attract pollinators and disperse the fruit. In competition plants, they are growth inhibitors.
We can identify three different classes, that of simple phenols, that of flavonoids and that of tannins. The former are widely present in foods and beverages, including coffee, tannins are divided into condensates and hydrolysable, flavonoids can be divided into different families according to their structure: flavonols, flavones, isoflavones, anthocyanins and others.
In wine I am responsible for color and some taste sensations. Flavonols in particular affect the chromatism of white wines, the catechins and the leucoanthocians instead they are responsible for the color instability of white wines. The "polyphenol" par excellence for wines is the tannin, however, more present in red wines. In general, the more there is, harshness and roughness will be more pronounced.
In oil this group of substances confers stability, nutritional and health qualities and also gives the oil important sensory characteristics that should not be ignored. To understand the role of polyphenols in oil should be distinguished in lipophilic phenols, i tocopherols, and hydrophilic phenols, the former are also present in other oils and fats of vegetable origin, the latter instead only in extra virgin olive oil in which we can find phenolic acids, phenolic alcohols, secoridoids, lignans and flavones to be precise.
Grapes are one of the richest fruits in these substances which make them particularly useful for our health. They indeed have a strong antioxidant but also anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, anticancer, antimicrobial and neuroprotective power. The quantity present can vary from grape to grape.
Given the numerous and precious properties that these substances can boast, it is clear that there are also supplements to take them quantities needed in case you cannot do it with a balanced and healthy diet. Let's see by points what powers i have polyphenols.
By antioxidants they protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, from anticarcinogens protecting cells against direct attack by carcinogens, from antiatherogens they help in the fight against arteriosclerosis and related diseases. Always i polyphenols they have properties anti-inflammatory is antibacterial.
In vegetables, as well in wine, oil and coffee, in cocoa and tea, they are present in varying quantities. To try to take larger quantities, we can favor the consumption of fresh and raw vegetables because cooking considerably reduces the polyphenolic content of any food
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