Phenols, which are naturally occurring compounds found in virtually all foods, give your food its smell, taste and color. Their molecules each include a hydroxyl functional group (OH) bonded to the ring of an aromatic compound — a molecule that includes at least one ring of carbon atoms. They can also be extracted or synthesized by manufacturers to help preserve foods and enhance their flavor. Some have important industrial uses as drugs or food additives.
Its category is chemically similar to the alcohols, but phenols form tighter hydrogen bonds with other chemical compounds. They are also set apart from alcohols by their higher acidity, solubility, and boiling points. Most are colorless, though some are brightly colored and play an important role in plant pigmentation. They are usually solid or liquid at room temperature.
Many that are important to human health are polyphenols, chemicals made of several phenol molecules chained together. This group includes the tannins, lignins, and flavonoids. Some compounds, such as tyrosol and oleuropein, are thought to have antioxidant properties. Others may reduce the likelihood of heart disease or cancer. At least one polyphenol, resveratrol, is believed to have potent anti-aging effects.
Food High In Phenols
Fruits contain numerous nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants. These fruits include dark plum, cherry, and an apple variety known as Valkea Kuulas. Though Sahelian indicates that research regarding phenolic compounds’ positive influence on health, these three fruits are dense in antioxidants and other nutrients. Cherries, for example, are rich in anthocyanins, a type of phytonutrient that promotes various health benefits. The American Dietetic Association recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as a means of preventing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, improve immuning function and potentially reducing cancer risk.
Various vegetables contain phenol(C6H6O, CAS No. 108-95-2), which, according to researchers at the University of California Davis, contribute to the browning of the vegetables. They cite artichokes and some potatoes as having high levels of phenolic compounds, while other vegetables, such as lettuce and celery contain small amounts. Vegetables are a valuable aspect of a heart-healthy diet, regardless of whether one consumes them to reap phenolic compounds or not.
Some phenols are actually detrimental to health. Many plants secrete unpleasant or poisonous phenolic compounds to deter herbivores. One, urushiol, causes the rash associated with poison ivy and poison oak. Tannins give acorns their bitter taste, and are poisonous in high doses. Carbolic acid causes chemical burns, and may be carcinogenic.