Plants synthesise polyphenols, and therefore diets rich in fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of polyphenols. The health benefits of polyphenols have been investigated with respect to their ability to prevent or reverse the dysfunctional elevation of lipid levels that occurs with insulin resistance and obesity. A number of studies have provided evidence that polyphenols in the diet may reverse elevated levels of blood lipids (dyslipidaemia). The benefits of polyphenols may increase over time and when taken in combination with a high quality diet containing other lipid lowering agents such as fibre and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The mechanisms by which polyphenols may be beneficial at reducing lipid levels may relate to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. As both inflammation and oxidative stress are implicated in the development of insulin resistance, obesity and dyslipidaemia, polyphenols may target the causative factor and this potentially act as therapeutic agents.
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