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Health Benefits of Polyphenols Fuel Public Interest

by 5m Editor
25 August 2006, at 11:24am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2228. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Farm-Scape, Episode 2228

The United Kingdom based Institute of Food Research says the health benefits conferred by polyphenols, especially cardiovascular health, is helping fuel public interest in these compounds. Polyphenols have been shown to have health-promoting benefits.

Dr. Paul Kroon, a senior research scientist with the Institute of Food Research at Norwich, is one of the researchers on hand for the XXIII International Conference on Polyphenols underway in Winnipeg. He notes these compounds are showing potential in terms of preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, possibly neuronal damage and increasing lifespan.

"Polyphenols are produced by plants. They're natural and, in many cases, we choose to eat foods because they contain polyphenols. For example they can make strawberries look more attractive.

The redder the strawberry the more polyphenol there is in it. Polyphenols are very important in taste. For example dark chocolate contains large quantities of polyphenols, tea tastes like it is and looks like it is because of polyphenols.

They're all around us and they're in most of the foods we eat but the levels vary greatly being very high in some like red wine, berries to being very low in some other vegetables, especially those that don't have a lot of red or brown color to them. The interest predominantly in these at the moment is in their potential benefits to health, particularly cardiovascular disease.

There have been a number of studies with coca, red wine, grape seed extracts, other extracts such as pycnogenol which is an extract from French maritime pine bark and a number of berry products and extracts from berries.

It's these polyphenol rich foods and beverages and extracts that have been producing positive results in human clinical trials that have really picked the field up."

Dr. Kroon notes awareness of polyphenols has been building since the early 1990's but the real interest has come in the late 1990's and beyond.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor