Arnau Vilas, member of VITAE technical department , agri – food technology researcher , PhD in food science and specialist in sea buckthorntalks about the antioxidant properties of polyphenols and how increasing their consumption can help us enjoy a beautiful and healthy skin .
What exactly are polyphenols?
They are molecules secreted by plants under stress conditions and, therefore, can be found in nature. Plants do not need these molecules to survive, but they secrete them as a defense mechanism in different situations.
Why is there so much talk lately about polyphenols ?
They are becoming popular because recently, more and more physiological beneficial effects are being discovered and those were previously unknown. We do not need polyphenols to survive, they don’t have calories, but they can be absorbed by our body (each one in a different way). It has been discovered that they can have cardioprotective and hepatoprotective benefits and also at the neurological level , among many others.
Can polyphenols protect us from the sun?
There are specific polyphenols that help our body to protect the skin from the negative effects of the sun. This occurs thanks to one of the main functions of polyphenols: when they are absorbed they have great antioxidant capacity. Sunlight produces free radicals in our body and that is what “ages” us, which is why a good supply of antioxidants will help us combat these negative effects.
Polyphenols are antioxidants so that they are able to capture free radicals. It should be noted that each type of polyphenol will neutralize a type of free radical, that is, depending on what we are exposing ourselves to, we will need one type of polyphenol or another.
About grapefruit and rosemary polyphenols
At Vitae we work with different types of polyphenols, specifically, we use rosemary for its rosmarinic acid content, which is a relatively small compound and therefore is more easily absorbed and, in addition, has evidence that ensures that it protects from the oxidation effect from sunlight.
As for grapefruit, its most important polyphenol is naringin, which has also been shown to protect against oxidative damage from the sun.
Foods high in polyphenols
In general, we can find polyphenols in any plant origin, although it is true that there are products that may contain a higher amount, such as coffee, wine must or red fruits. It is important to mention that, although wine contains many polyphenols , the counterproductive effect of taking ethanol must be taken into account . There are studies that say that one glass of wine a day can be beneficial, but, in my opinion, the negative effects of ethanol far outweigh the antioxidant power of the polyphenols it contains.
The more color and diversity we introduce into our diet, the more antioxidants and polyphenols we will obtain, and thus, we will be able to age in a healthy and natural way.
Like everything in life, balance is important, that is why we must not only eat a diet rich in antioxidants but one that includes all kinds of beneficial foods for our body, as well as enjoy quality sleep, keep stress at bay and get regular exercise.