Polyphenols are antioxidants from plant foods that work in the body to enhance health in complex ways. In addition, polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in your diet. There are many different kinds or types of polyphenols that benefit health such as:
Isoflavones – are polyphenols with estrogen-like effects and can be found in soy foods
Catechins– are polypenolic compounds found in teas, such as green tea.
Ellagic acid -is a polyphenol found in pomegranates, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, walnuts and pecans.
Anthocyanins– are polyphenolic compounds that make up the red, purple and blue colors of fruits and vegetables.
According to the American cancer society “Ellagic acid seems to have some anti-cancer properties. It can act as an anti-oxidant, and has been found to cause cell death in cancer cells in the laboratory. In other laboratory studies, ellagic acid seems to reduce the effect of estrogen in promoting growth of breast cancer cells in tissue cultures. There are also reports that it may help the liver to break down or remove some cancer-causing substances from the blood”.
Nuts play a unique role in benefitting health. Joe Vinson PhD, along with colleagues from the Department of Chemistry at University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, measured free and total polyphenols in nine different types of nuts. Their findings:
“Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts,” said Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who did the analysis. “A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. In addition,walnuts were also 4-15 times higher in Vitamin E than the other nuts. Walnuts are unusual in that they not only contain the most common alpha-tocopherol form of Vitamin E, but also contain gamma-tocopherol which has been found to provide significant protection from heart problems. In previous studies, walnuts improved endothelial function, lipid profiles, and blood pressure.”
Roasted or unroasted
Dr Vinson believes that the heat from roasting nuts generally reduces the quality of the antioxidants and that for full effectiveness of the antioxidants eating raw and unroasted walnuts provides the most benefits.
Time to go nutz ~ don’t you think?