Polyphenols are large molecules that consist of the phenol chemical moiety. A phenol is an aromatic organic compound with the molecular formula C6H5OH, which has the following structure:
There are many different types of phenols, each with the same core structure depicted above. Polyphenols contain a large number of these phenol groups. An example of a polyphenol is tannic acid, which is depicted below:
Polyphenols are typically derived from plants. The number, type, and arrangement of phenols in the polyphenol define its chemical and biological properties, e.g. whether or not it is toxic or therapeutic to humans.
The structure of polyphenols makes them reactive towards oxidants. Thus, they act as potent antioxidants.
Vegetables are a primary source of therapeutic phenols. Polyphenols from vegetables are both safe and therapeutic, due to their antioxidant potential.