Category Archives: Polyphenols

Increase your intake of polyphenols and live a longer life would love for all food consumers to answer this question: If someone told you that you could extend your life by increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, would you do it? Pretty easy to answer, isn’t it? Today we read some new research that infers just that!

It is the first time that a scientific study associates high polyphenols intake with a 30% reduction in mortality in older adults. The research, published on Journal of Nutrition, is the first to evaluate the total dietary polyphenol intake by using a nutritional biomarker and not only a food frequency questionnaire. Research is signed by Cristina Andrés Lacueva, Montserrat Rabassa and Mireia Urpí Sardà, from the Department of Nutrition and Bromatology of the UB; Raúl Zamora Ros (ICO-IDIBELL), and experts Antonio Cherubini (Italian National Research Centre on Aging), Stefania Bandinelli (Azienda Sanitaria di Firenze, Italy) and Luigi Ferrucci (National Institute on Aging, United States).

Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals. More than 8,000 different phenolic compounds have been identified in plants. Polyphenols have antioxidant, antiinflammatory, anticarcinogenic, etc. effects.

The research published on Journal of Nutrition is based on a 12-year follow-up of a population sample composed by 807 men and women aged 65 or over from Greve and Bagno (Tuscany, Italy), within the InCHIANTI study. The group of the UB analysed the effect of polyphenol-rich diets by means of a nutritional biomarker — the total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration — as a proxy measure of intake. To be exact, UB researchers contributes to first literature references on TUP application to epidemiological or clinical studies.

Professor Cristina Andrés Lacueva, head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group of the UB and coordinator of the study, explains that “the development and use of nutritional biomarkers enables to make a more precise and, particularly, more objective estimation of intake as it is not only based on participants’ memory when answering questionnaire. Nutritional biomarkers take into account bioavailabity and individual differences. According to the expert, “this methodology makes a more reliable and accurate evaluation of the association between food intake and mortality or disease risk.”

In conclusion, the research proves that overall mortality was reduced by 30% in participants who had rich-polyphenol diets (>650 mg/day) in comparison with the participants who had low-polyphenol intakes ( Raúl Zamora Ros, first author of the study, points out that “results corroborate scientific evidence suggesting that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality.” Moreover, the research stresses the importance of evaluating — if possible — food intake by using nutritional biomarkers, not only food frequency questionnaires.

Here at, we try to get our five a day every day. We’re committed to a healthy diet based on fresh, whole foods and avoiding controversial ingredients. Our awareness of how nutrition affects our health and well being is paramount in our mission and in our lives. Today we just added to that awareness with this great news! Lets pass it on!

Better health might be written in the tea leaves … green tea, that is. is always looking for information regarding the health benefits of green tea. There has always been conjecture about this tea boasting many, varied health properties gained from including it in your beverage consumption. It’s been heralded in different cultures and has fascinated people for years.

Recent research has pointed to these benefits and recently we’ve blogged about a few of them. It seems, though, that newer research is actually shedding light on how specific elements in green tea might, in fact, be involved in preventing the spread of both breast and prostate cancer!

The new research was focused on 40 women with a form of breast cancer that’s unaffected by hormone therapy. Coming out of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, the researchers gave the participants green tea extract in various amounts and a placebo. Those women consuming the green tea extract exhibited much lower levels of tumor growth than those given the placebo just two months into the study.

Green tea contains polyphenols. These chemicals are thought to have caused the slowing of the growth of the cancer in the women studied, specifically by hindering two proteins that support cancer cell growth and movement in the body. The study has tried to identify how much green tea extract, and/or cups of green tea would be needed to achieve the strongest effects. More research will be required to pinpoint the optimal level.

This research was based on a 2009 study on 26 men with prostate cancer, which showed comparable results in the slowing of cancer growth and migration. There’s another study that’s been released out of the University of California that’s even more recent that followed 67 men with prostate cancer who were about to have their prostate removed. Prior to having the procedure done, the men were instructed to drink six cups of brewed greed tea or water each day on a random basis. The men who drank six cups of green tea had lower levels of PSAs (prostate specific antigens). PSA levels are associated with prostate tumor growth.

It’s interesting to note that Japan, whose citizens consider green tea a steady and regular part of their diets, has a prostate and breast cancer rate that’s just about three times lower than the United States.

While we understand that these findings cannot yet be considered conclusive and that further research will be necessary, is certainly encouraged and looks forward to learning more about how green tea might be used in the future to help slow cancer growth and maybe even lend some hope to cancer prevention.

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