Polyphenols are a group of secondary metabolites produced by plants. Many also have health benefits for humans. In short, they are commonly considered antioxidants, but new research is revealing more detail on how these compounds work. This blog — Whole Health Source — by Stephan Guyenet is really interesting. The latest enty [HERE] is a well documented explanation of how some polyphenols don’t necessarily prevent oxidation in cells, but promote it at low levels, such that it stimulates the cells own antioxident response. His explanation is much better than mine.
The interesting thing is that some organically grown crops have been shown to contain higher levels of some polyphenols. Plants produce these compounds as a self defense mechanism against stresses caused by insects or other damage. Because organically grown crops are subject to higher levels of stress, they produce higher levels of polyphenols, and can therefor be healthier for humans.
For more info, go HERE. Dr. Alyson Mitchel (UC Davis) has done some fantastic research in this area.