Foods Rich in Polyphenols Full of Health Benefits

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-More than 400 researchers and students from around the world gathered last week at the University of Buenos Aires for VI International Conference on Polyphenols and Health. The conference has gained great momentum as polyphenols – plant antioxidant compounds commonly found in fruits and vegetables – have become the subject of great interest and discussion as evidence of the compounds’ whole body health benefits continues to grow.

The cranberry – a fruit with one of the highest polyphenol content among commonly consumed fruits – was the focus of significant discussion during the conference. “From in vitro to clinical evidence, there is emerging data pointing towards the ability of polyphenol rich fruits like cranberry to support heart health,” said Dr. Johanna Dwyer, Tufts University, who presented a review of evidence at the conference. “There are opportunities to move this information forward and support the dialogue that polyphenol rich foods like cranberries can be an important part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle,” she added.

Research into the benefits of polyphenols are bolstered thanks to the experts in attendance at this year’s conference, who have come to present their findings on everything from the potential role of polyphenols in cancer prevention to the established link between the polyphenol and heart health. However, with more than 8,000 variations of polyphenols in existence and so many benefits associated with them, there is still much to be discussed and discovered.

Dr. Cesar Fraga, a professor at the University of Buenos Aires and Conference Chair, hosted this year’s event and brought the participants’ new discoveries and discussions to the Southern Hemisphere. More than half of the audience at the conference was comprised of students from across Latin America, who were eager to take advantage of the gathering of distinguished experts and presentations of the latest polyphenol research. With the number of attendees doubling Dr. Fraga’s expectations, it is clear that there is great interest in the region about polyphenols.

However, beyond the conference and polyphenols experts, there is less information and research in Latin America of these beneficial compounds that are a critical component of the everyday diet. Polyphenols are found in wine, tea and many common fruits. The cranberry, in particular, is one of the most-studied and discussed fruits, due to its health benefits and high polyphenol content.

In fact, one serving of cranberries contains a significant amount of polyphenolic antioxidants, more than the amount found in one serving of strawberries, broccoli, white grapes, bananas or apples. The polyphenols found in cranberries may help reduce recurrent urinary tract infections, especially in women, help promote better circulation and protect the body’s cells and tissues from oxidative stress.

In an effort to increase awareness of the health benefits of polyphenols, Ocean Spray was a primary sponsor of the conference. Researchers were invited to try a glass of delicious cranberry juice and learn more about the super fruit’s benefits. Ocean Spray cranberry juice products can already be found in more than a dozen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

For more information about the whole body health benefits of cranberries, visit cranberryhealth.com.