Polyphenol Intake Associated with Longevity

Barcelona, Spain—A 12-year study has found a 30% reduction in mortality among adults that consume a lot of polyphenols. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Barcelona (UB), is the first to use nutritional biomarkers instead of questionnaires to gather data regarding polyphenol intake.

Polyphenols, naturally occurring compounds known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, are found in a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals. The amount of polyphenols in the body can be measured by looking at total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration, which is how the researchers of the study collected their data.

Researchers, lead by Cristina Andres Lacueva, professor at UB, studied the data collected from 807 Italian men and women, ages 65 and up, over a 12-year period. They found that those who ate diets rich in polyphenols (characterized as >650 mg/day) had a 30% reduction in mortality compared to those whose diets were low in polyphenols (<500 mg/day).

An author of the study, Raul Zamora Ros, commented on the results, saying they “corroborate scientific evidence suggesting that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality.”  Lacueva also remarked on how the biomarker method of data collection “makes a more reliable and accurate evaluation of the association between food intake and mortality or disease risk."

The research was published in the Journal of Nutrition.


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, December 2013 (online 10/22/13)