The phenolic acids are a group of phytonutrients (plant based chemical compounds that have numerous health benefits but are not classed as essential nutrients). The 7 main phenolic acids are:
– Ellagic Acid.
– Gallic Acid.
– Salicylic Acid.
– Tannic Acid.
They can be found in a wide range of plant based foods with berries, chilli peppers, grapes, nuts, spices and wine being some of the best sources. Although they do not get nearly as much publicity as the vitamins or minerals and are not believed to be essential, they still have a very important role to play in human health. In this article I will be expanding on this topic and giving you 24 of the fantastic phenolic acid benefits:
1) ACTING AS ANTIBACTERIALS:- Bacteria are a group of single cell microorganisms. Most bacteria are harmless in humans due to the protective effects of the immune system. However, some bacteria are dangerous and can cause infectious diseases. Fortunately, capsaicin and tannic acid are both powerful antibacterials (substances that kill or slow down the growth of bacteria) and can help keep you safe from dangerous bacteria. Provisional studies suggest that curcumin may also have antibacterial properties but further evidence is required before this can be confirmed.
2) ACTING AS ANTIHISTAMINES:- Histamine is a chemical that is released during allergic reactions. It is responsible for many of the common allergic symptoms including itching, sneezing, swelling and redness. The good news is that gallic acid can help you avoid these allergic symptoms by acting as an antihistamine (a substance that counters the effects of histamine) and make dealing with allergies much more manageable.
3) ACTING AS ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES:- Inflammation is your body’s way of dealing with infection, injury, irritation or stress. It leads to heat, pain, redness or swelling around the affected area. Most inflammation is positive as it shows your body has identified a threat and is attempting to deal with the problem. However, some inflammation is unnecessary and damages your body’s cells when there is no infection, injury, irritation or stress to deal with. Fortunately, the phenolic acids can help keep unnecessary inflammation under control. Both capsaicin and gallic acid are potent anti-inflammatories (substances that minimise unnecessary inflammation within the body). Early studies indicate that curcumin may also be an anti-inflammatory but further research is required before this can be confirmed.
4) ACTING AS ANTIMUTAGENICS:- Mutagens are dangerous substances that can change the genetic material of an organism and make genetic mutations (such as cancer) much more likely. Cigarette smoke and ultraviolet (UV) radiation are 2 common environmental mutagens. The good news is that tannic acid is an effective antimutagenic (a substance that works against mutagens and prevents genetic mutations) which can keep you safe from these harmful substances.
5) ACTING AS ANTIOXIDANTS:- Antioxidants are substances that keep your body’s cells safe from free radicals. Free radicals are harmful substances that are released into your body’s cells during oxygen based reactions. They have been linked cancer, diabetes, a weak immune system and increased visible signs of ageing. Fortunately, all of the phenolic acids except capsaicin are powerful antioxidants that can keep you safe from the adverse effects associated with free radicals.
6) ACTING AS ANTIVIRALS:- Viral infections are a types of infections caused by viruses which can range from the relatively minor common cold to the more serious human immunodeficiency virus (a virus that is often abbreviated to HIV and causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) which ultimately destroys the immune system). They are extremely difficult to treat because they host themselves inside your body’s cells and constantly mutate into new strains. The good news is that some promising early evidence suggests that curcumin could act as an antiviral (a substance that inhibits the growth of viral infections) and allow you to deal with viral infections much more effectively. However, more research is needed before these effects can be confirmed.
7) ACTING AS ANTITOXICS:- Toxins are poisonous substances that are produced within living organisms. The good news is that tannic acid is a potent antitoxic (a substance that fights toxins) and can help keep you safe from these natural poisons.
8) BOOSTING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH:- The phenolic acids have a lot of potential when it comes to boosting your mental health. Early research suggests that curcumin might act as an antidepressant and also prevent Alzheimer’s disease (a mental disorder which leads to the loss of memory, thought and speech). In addition to this, tannic acid may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease whilst vanillin may protect the brain cells from damage, prevent Alzheimer’s disease and prevent Parkinson’s disease (a degenerative brain disorder which leads to the loss of mobility and speech). However, further studies are needed before the effects of the phenolic acids on mental health are confirmed.
9) BOOSTING YOUR METABOLISM:- If you are trying to lose some weight then you might want to give capsaicin a try. Studies have shown that eating this phenolic acid can give your metabolism a temporary thermic boost.
10) HEALTHY BLOOD:- Your blood is an important substance that transports oxygen to the cells and organs that need it, helps the body remove waste materials and much more. Fortunately, capsaicin can help keep your blood healthy by reducing blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a type of cholesterol which can cause blockages in the arteries and increase your heart disease risk). Provisional evidence suggests that curcumin may also reduce blood levels of LDL cholesterol whilst ellagic acid may help your wounds to heal and reduce high blood pressure. In addition to this, vanillin may prevent internal bleeding and protect against sickle cell disease (a disease that leads to your body producing sickle shaped blood cells which restrict blood flow). However, more studies are needed before the effects that curcumin, ellagic acid and vanillin have on the blood can be confirmed.
11) HEALTHY EYES:- As you get older your eyes become more susceptible to degenerative disorders. The good news is that curcumin may help protect against cataracts (clouding on the lenses of the eyes) although more evidence is required before these effects can be confirmed.
12) HEALTHY KIDNEYS:- The kidneys are an important organ that filter waste products from the blood. Provisional studies indicate that curcumin may be able to keep them in tip top shape by preventing kidney disease. However, more research is required before this can be confirmed.
13) HEALTHY LIVER:- The liver is another important organ which removes dangerous toxins from your body. Early studies suggest that curcumin may give the liver a real health boost by detoxifying it and protecting it from disease. Ellagic acid may also be useful at preventing liver problems. However, further studies are needed before these effects can be confirmed.
14) HEALTHY NERVOUS SYSTEM:- The nervous system is a network of nerves or neurones that controls every single process in your body. Studies have shown that gallic acid can protect this vital system and ensure that it controls your body effectively.
15) HEALTHY SKIN:- The phenolic acids can protect you from a variety of nasty skin conditions. For starters, capsaicin can prevent psoriasis (a skin condition characterised by red, itchy, scaly patches) and shingles (a type of skin rash that leads to pain and burning sensations). Salicylic acid can also give your skin a real boost by reducing the visible signs of ageing, removing warts (small, hard, benign growths on the skin), treating calluses (thickened, hardened areas of skin), treating corns (small, thickened areas on the skin of the foot), treating dandruff (the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp), treating acne, treating psoriasis and treating scaly, thickened skin. Provisional research suggests that tannic acid may also be effective at treating blisters but further evidence is required before this can be confirmed.
16) PREVENTING ARTHRITIS:- Arthritis is a type of inflammation that causes pain, stiffness, swelling and redness in the joints. Fortunately, capsaicin can provide relief to people suffering from arthritis and make the pain much more bearable. Early studies suggest that curcumin may also be able to relieve the painful symptoms associated with arthritis but more research is needed before these effects can be confirmed.
17) PREVENTING CANCER:- Cancer is a nasty disease that develops when the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in your body’s cells becomes damaged. This causes your cells to grow in a rapid, uncontrollable way which ultimately leads to the formation of a tumour. This tumour can sometimes become cancerous, move to other parts of the body and destroy the surrounding cells. The good news is that capsaicin and gallic acid both have significant cancer fighting properties and can help keep you safe from this nasty disease. Early evidence indicates that curcumin, ellagic acid, tannic acid and vanillin may also be able to prevent cancer but more research is required before this can be confirmed.
18) PREVENTING HEART DISEASE:- Heart disease is 1 of the largest reasons behind premature deaths in the UK. Fortunately, the phenolic acids can help you avoid it in a number of ways. For starters, capsaicin indirectly reduces your heart disease risk by lowering blood levels of LDL cholesterol and ensuring that the flow of blood to your heart is not disrupted. In addition to this, salicylic acid suppresses the production of prostaglandins and thromboxanes – 2 hormones that can increase your heart disease risk. Provisional studies suggest that ellagic acid may also lower your heart disease risk but more evidence is needed before these effects can be confirmed.
19) PROTECTING THE SINUSES:- The sinuses are spaces in the bones of your face. They make your skull lighter, help your voice to resonate and protect your brain from blows to the face. Unfortunately, they are also very susceptible to infection and inflammation. The good news is that capsaicin can help you out in this area by preventing sinus infections and sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).
20) RELIEVING PAIN:- Do you suffer from headaches, joint pain or muscle pain? If so, the phenolic acids could help. Studies have shown that capsaicin prevents headaches, migraines, joint pain and muscle pain.
21) SOOTHING THE STOMACH:- If you regularly suffer from an upset stomach then you may want to start eating more phenolic acids. Studies have shown that capsaicin can prevent indigestion, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and stomach ulcers. Early evidence indicates that curcumin may also be able to calm the stomach by preventing indigestion and reducing abdominal pain but more research is required before this can be confirmed.
22) STRENGTHENING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM:- The immune system is a set of biological structures and processes that fights disease and foreign bodies. Keeping it strong helps you stay healthy and free from disease throughout the year. Fortunately, provisional research suggests that both curcumin and ellagic acid may be able to strengthen the immune system and help you fight infection and disease. However, more evidence is needed before these effects can be confirmed.
23) TREATING DIABETES:- Diabetes is a disease where your blood glucose levels become dangerously high. It is normally the result of either your pancreas failing to produce enough insulin (a hormone that allows your cells to take glucose from the blood) or your body’s cells becoming unresponsive to insulin. Untreated diabetes can cause significant damage to your body’s cells and vital organs. Fortunately, the phenolic acids can help you manage and treat diabetes effectively. Capsaicin can relieve the painful symptoms of diabetic neuropathy whilst gallic acid can help prevent diabetes. Early evidence suggests that curcumin and tannic acid may also prevent and treat diabetes but more research is required before this can be confirmed.
24) TREATING MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS:- Multiple sclerosis (also referred to as MS) is a nasty nerve disorder where your immune system attacks the myelin (a protective sheath that surround your nerves) in your body. This results in scarring on the nerves and disrupts the functionality of the nervous system. It leads to a number of nasty symptoms including depression, impaired mobility, muscular weakness and vision problems. The good news is that provisional research suggests that curcumin may be able to treat multiple sclerosis. However, further evidence is required before these effects can be confirmed.
PHENOLIC ACID HEALTH BENEFITS SUMMARY
The phenolic acids are a group of powerful, health boosting nutrients that can protect you from many dangerous diseases and substances. Provisional evidence indicates that they also have a lot more protection to offer the human body. So make sure your diet is rich in fruits, nuts, vegetables and spices so that you can activate all these phenolic acid benefits.