How do different polyphenol-rich foods impact chronic diseases?

A newly published special issue in Nutrients features a collection of cutting-edge studies and reviews highlighting the potential of phytochemicals in promoting a healthy human diet. Here's a concise overview of each of these studies:

Study: Effects of Polyphenol-Rich Foods on Chronic Diseases. Image Credit: Danijela Maksimovic/

Brain boosting flavanols

A study explored the effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the APOE genotype, and flavanol intake on the brain. It discovered a correlation between dietary flavanol consumption and brain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n3-PUFA) levels, suggesting a promising link between lipid profiles, brain n3-PUFA availability, and flavanol intake.

Fermented plant extracts combat obesity

Research investigated the anti-obesity properties of fermented Artemisia annua L. and Salicornia herbacea L. extracts, revealing post-fermentation metabolite changes that enhanced their anti-obesity effects in mice.

Soy extracts for diabetes

An exploration of a soy extract rich in hydroxylated isoflavones and its effects on Drosophila melanogaster demonstrated enriched hydroxy-isoflavones after fermentation, leading to reduced triacylglyceride levels in female D. melanogaster and establishing its anti-diabetic potential.

Anthocyanins and health

An observational study unveiled the associations between anthocyanin intake, microbial metabolism, and health benefits, highlighting specific metabolites related to anthocyanin consumption that correlated inversely with visceral adipose tissue.

Photoperiod and obesity

A study on rats exposed to different photoperiods while consuming a cafeteria diet found that supplementation with grape-seed proanthocyanidins prevented excessive weight gain, potentially due to increased lipolysis in adipose tissue.

Phenolic power duo

Two intervention studies explored the combined impact of coffee chlorogenic acid and green tea catechins on postprandial glycemic responses in healthy men, revealing positive effects on incretin response, glucose and insulin levels, GLP-1, and insulin sensitivity.

Coffee extracts against cancer

Coffee extracts rich in polyphenols and chlorogenic acid regulated the Wnt pathway and reduced the transcriptional activity of β-catenin in colorectal cancer SW480 cells.

Desmodium tortuosum's antioxidant potential

Research demonstrated the cytoprotective capacity of Desmodium tortuosum in the face of oxidative stress in endothelial and neuronal-like cell lines, likely attributed to its high phenolic content.

Hesperidin and the immune gut barrier

Focusing on fecal microbiota, researchers determined that hesperidin supplementation didn't prevent exercise-induced changes in lymphocyte function and distribution but boosted immunoglobulin A synthesis in the intestinal compartment, possibly enhancing the immune intestinal barrier.

Cocoa-rich diet and diabetes

Using a metabolomics approach, scientists identified 14 differential urinary metabolites in Zucker diabetic fatty rats fed a 10% cocoa-rich diet, revealing correlations with body weight, insulin sensitivity, glycemia, and glycated hemoglobin levels.

Olive pomace oil and visceral fat

A study found that olive pomace oil (OPO) intake did not affect blood pressure, lipid profile, or endothelial function markers but significantly reduced visceral fat, potentially improving cardiometabolic health.

Green coffee nutraceuticals

The same research group reported muted effects on phenolic metabolism and bioavailability in obese or overweight individuals after sustained consumption of a decaffeinated green coffee nutraceutical.

Fruit and diabetes management

A review examined the anti-diabetic potential of 46 species and identified fruits from the Maleae tribe as promising functional foods for diabetes management.

Avenanthramide for neurodegenerative diseases

Polyphenol avenanthramide, found in oats, modulates PI3K/AKT signaling, potentially offering benefits in managing neurodegenerative diseases by improving cognitive function, neuronal survival, and reducing oxidative stress.

Pistachio's plethora of benefits

The final review recommended the regular inclusion of pistachios in our diet due to their rich phytochemical content, showcasing their positive effects on endothelial function, lipid and glucose balance, and their potential in preventing conditions like cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Journal reference:
  • Goya, L., and de Pascual-Teresa, S. (2023) Effects of Polyphenol-Rich Foods on Chronic Diseases. Nutrients, 15, 4134. doi: 10.3390/ nu15194134.

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Tags: Adipose, Anthocyanin, Antioxidant, Blood, Blood Pressure, Brain, Cancer, Cardiometabolic, Cardiovascular Disease, Cell, Chronic, Coffee, Cognitive Function, Colorectal, Colorectal Cancer, Diabetes, Diet, Docosahexaenoic Acid, Exercise, Fermentation, Fruit, GLP-1, Glucose, Glycated hemoglobin, Glycemia, Green Tea, Hemoglobin, Immunoglobulin, Insulin, Lymphocyte, Metabolism, Metabolite, Metabolites, Metabolomics, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Nutraceutical, Nutrients, Obesity, Oxidative Stress, Phytochemical, Pistachio, Polyphenol, Research, Stress, Tea, Type 2 Diabetes

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Written by

Dr. Priyom Bose

Priyom holds a Ph.D. in Plant Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Madras, India. She is an active researcher and an experienced science writer. Priyom has also co-authored several original research articles that have been published in reputed peer-reviewed journals. She is also an avid reader and an amateur photographer.

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