How Do Polyphenols Protect From Obesity?

Polyphenols may have a number of health effects that include protection from obesity. Polyphenols are not the only reason that the Mediterranean diet protects from obesity, but they may contribute to this effect. The Mediterranean diet is high in plant foods, particularly fruits, vegetables and herbs, and this provides a significant total amount, as well as a large variety of polyphenols. The polyphenols in the Mediterranean diet may decrease reactive oxygen species, and thus inhibit oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is particularly damaging and can cause obesity because it can trigger the release of nuclear factor kappa-beta, and this can initiate inflammation. Inflammation is implicated in obesity because it is thought that the generation of inflammation may be one of the triggers that initiates insulin resistance, one of the underlying characteristics of obesity. Eating high quality foods such as in the Mediterranean diet may therefore help prevent obesity through inhibition of the insulin resistance that causes it. 

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Nani, A., Murtaza, B., Sayed Khan, A., Khan, N. A. and Hichami, A. 2021. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Potential of Polyphenols Contained in Mediterranean Diet in Obesity: Molecular Mechanisms. Molecules. 26(4)

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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