Phenolic acids are a group of plant compounds found in many foods, especially fruits, vegetables, and grains. They are also known as polyphenols and have gained a lot of attention in nutrition and medicine due to their potential health benefits.
Phenolic acids are also sometimes popularly referred to as “phytochemicals”. This designation was coined to highlight the importance of these compounds in nutrition and health, as they are not considered essential nutrients, but are nevertheless important bioactive compounds that can provide many health benefits.
Occurrence of phenolic acids
The most common phenolic acids include chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and ferulic acid, which can be found in coffee, tea, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Phenolic acids act as powerful antioxidants and can help reduce cell damage caused by oxidative processes in the body.
Health Benefits of Phenolic Acids
In addition to their antioxidant effects, phenolic acids have also shown anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer properties. In addition, they can help reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Absorption of phenolic acids
The intake of phenolic acids can be increased by eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. However, phenolic acids are sensitive to heat and can be lost through cooking or processing. Therefore, it is best to consume foods raw or only lightly cooked to maximize their phenolic acid content.
Phenolic acid-rich foods, their benefits in the diet and possible disadvantages:
|Food||Phenolic acid content||Benefits in nutrition||Disadvantages|
|Coffee||High||Protection against cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, may improve mood and cognitive function||Excessive consumption can lead to insomnia, anxiety, and high blood pressure|
|Tea||High||Protection against cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases, can promote digestion and support bone health||Excessive consumption can lead to insomnia and nervousness|
|Berries (e.g. blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)||High||Protection against cardiovascular disease, inflammation and cancer, may improve cognitive function||Allergic reactions are possible; Berries may also contain pesticide residues|
|Dark chocolate||High||Protection against cardiovascular disease and inflammation, can improve cognitive function and brighten mood||High calorie content and fat content; can trigger migraines in some people|
|Olive oil||High||Protection against cardiovascular disease and inflammation, can improve bone health and memory||High calorie content; may cause allergic reactions in some people|
|Red wine||High||Protection against cardiovascular disease, inflammation and cancer, may improve cognitive function||Excessive consumption can lead to liver disease, alcoholism, and increased blood pressure|