Polyphenols are naturally-occurring substances in plant-based foods, predominantly fruits and vegetables but also in legumes, nuts, cereals, coffee and tea. Polyphenols are known to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic properties. In this study, international researchers analyzed a new nutritional biomarker—total urinary polyphenol concentration, to measure the polyphenolic levels in 807 Italian adult men and women. This method is more accurate than using dietary questionnaires. Participants who had rich-polyphenol diets (>650 mg/day) had a 30% decrease in mortality by any cause, compared to those with low polyphenol intake (<500 mg/day). These findings suggest that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality.
Reference: Zamora-Ros et al. High Concentrations of a Urinary Biomarker of Polyphenol Intake Are Associated with Decreased Mortality in Older Adults. J Nutr. 2013; 143 (9): 1445 DOI: 10.3945/jn.113.177121