There are over 8000 different polyphenols. They all have different types of medicinal benefits, although some benefits tend to cross all groups. As you will see, they are as important as your: vitamins, minerals, omega 3s, fibers, etc. Make sure you include them in your diet. They are grouped into the following categorizes:

Flavonoids: the largest group of polyphones including over 5000 types

In general effect: metabolic rates; digestion, absorption, and conversion by modulating cell-signaling processes;

Medicinal value: anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombogenic (reduce blood clotting), anti-diabetic, anti-cancer,

neuroprotective, improves: vascular endothelial function; blood glucose levels; anti-         carcinogenic; neural functioning

  • Flavones: apigenin, luteolin, baicalein, chrysin
    • Found in: parsley, thyme, celery, hot peppers
  • Flavonols: 3 groups and most wide spread in our diets:
    • monomers (catechins, epigallocatechins (EGCG), gallocatechins, quercetin)
      • Found in: white, green and oolong teas; cocoa products; grapes, berries, apples
      • Medicinal value: anti-oxidant, prevent cell damage, prevent heart disease, improves skin; prevents blood glucose spiking/insulin resistance/obesity; protects neural functioning; decreases heavy metal toxicity
    • dimers & polymers (proanthrocyanidins aka tannins)
      • Found in: apples, berries, cocoa, red grapes, olives, lentils, tea, cider
      • Medicinal value: anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, prevent lipid & LDL oxidation; anti-cancer (induce apoptosis/inhibit cell proliferation); improve diabetic complications (neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy)
    • theaflavins and thearubigins
      • Found in: black tea
      • Medicinal value: anti-oxidant and antibacterial
    • Found in: citrus fruits: oranges, grapefruits, lemons
  • Isoflavones: daidzein, genistein, glycitein, biochaninA, formononetin
    • Found in: soybeans, legumes
    • Medicinal value: help regulate hormones; protect cardiovascular and neurological systems; prevent osteoporosis; anti-oxidant
  • Anthocyanidins: cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, petunidin
    • Found in: blue, purple and red berries and grapes, red wine
    • Medicinal value: anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer; anti-hypertensive
  • Chalcones:
    • Found in: apples, hops
    • Medicinal value: anti-oxidant; thermodynamic;

Stilbenes: resveratrol, pterostilbene

Found in: very small amounts in grape skins, red wine, peanuts, blueberries and cranberries

          Medicinal value: resveratrol is an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflammatory


  • Plant based: pinoresiol, lariciresinol, secoisolariciresinol (SDG – gut bacteria converts SDG to enterolactone and enterodial), seamin, matairesinol
  • Animal based: enterolactone and enterodiol.
  • Found in: flaxseed (note it is a type of phytoestrogen); sesame seeds; also in rye, barley, fresh fruit and vegetables

Medicinal value: enterolactone and enterodial bine to estrogen receptors preventing naturally occurring radical hormones from binding to the estrogen receptors and exerting a negative effect. Lignans manage the way your body metabolizes estrogens, keeping them safe; as well as anti-oxidants

Phenolic acids: hydroxybenzoic acids, hydroxycinnamic acids

  • Found in: blueberry, cranberry, pear, cherry, apple, grapefruit, lemon, potato, lettuce, spinach
  • Medicinal value: anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory

Note: the amount of nutrient in a given food depends on:

  • Where it is grown
  • The soils it is grown in
  • The waters that are supplied
  • The air that surrounds the agricultural area
  • The fertilizers that are utilized
  • How and when it is harvested: the season; the time of day, i.e, before or after dew
  • The storage and transportation to the retail supplier

It is also important to recognize that the amount of nutrient claimed for a given food depends on the type of assessment that is done, eg., ORAC, FRAP, Folin.

Next is how your body metabolizes and absorbs the nutrients:

  • The enzymes you produce
  • The pH level of the enzyme area – most enzymes can only function in a given pH range
  • The probiotics that you have that are required for a lot of the metabolizing processes in the gut
  • The health/integrity of the mucosal lining of the gut, e.g., leaky gut to inflammatory issues like IBS to immune strength
  • The ability of transport mechanisms that transport the nutrient from the gut to the liver
  • The health of the liver that converts the nutrients into compounds that the organs and systems require
  • Heavy metals and other toxins that may inhibit absorption

Polyphenols in general are found in the following common foods:


Beverages:        Cocoa, green tea, black tea, red wine

Dark berries:   Black chokeberry, black elderberry, low bush blueberry, plum, cherry, blackcurrant, blackberry,

strawberry, raspberry, prune, black grapes.

Dried herbs:     Basil, lemon verbena, marjoram, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme,

Non berry fruit: Apples, apricot, lemon, peach, pomegranate juice, olive: black & green, quince

Nuts:                   Almonds, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts

Oils:                    Extra-virgin olive oil – don’t recommend; avocado oil, coconut oil, hemp oil, rapeseed (canola) oil – don’t recommend

Seeds:                Flaxseed, celery seeds

Spices:               Cloves, star anise, capers, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder,  ginger

Vegetables:      Broccoli, curly endive, globe artichokes, red chicory, green chicory, red onion, spinach

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