Phenolics represent a very large category of more than two thousand phytonutrients. The term phenol comes from the chemical structure of these phytonutrients, which varies from one to several phenol groups.
Research shows these powerful phytonutrients act as antioxidants in the body, sweeping up free radicals as they circulate through the bloodstream. They may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. More recently, polyphenols have been found to provide protection to neurons, and therefore may reduce the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
Polyphenols are found in a wide variety of foods including black currants, peanuts, tea, red wine, olives, olive oil, dark chocolate, pomegranates, apples, oranges and other fruits and vegetables.
Arts, I.C. and P.C. Hollman, Polyphenols and disease risk in epidemiologic studies. Am J Clin Nutr, 2005. 81(1 Suppl): p. 317S-325S. Dai Q, Borenstein AR, Wu Y, Jackson JC, Larson EB. Fruit and vegetable juices and Alzheimer's disease: the Kame Project. Am J Med. 2006 Sep;119(9):751-9.