Original Article

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010) 64, S112–S120; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.221

Identification of the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols: an application of the Phenol-Explorer database

Contributors: JPJ is the principal investigator who performed the study and drafted the paper. VN and FV are co-investigators who contributed to data analysis and helped draft the paper. AS is the chief investigator and supervisor who planned and monitored the study, and co-wrote the paper.

J Pérez-Jiménez1,2, V Neveu1,2, F Vos1,2 and A Scalbert1,2

  1. 1Clermont Université, Université d’Auvergne, Unité de Nutrition Humaine, Saint-Genes-Champanelle, France
  2. 2INRA, UMR 1019, UNH, CRNH Auvergne, Saint-Genes-Champanelle, France

Correspondence: Professor A Scalbert, INRA, UMR 1019, Unité Nutrition Humaine, Centre de Recherche de Clermont-Ferrand, 63122 Saint-Genes-Champanelle, France. E-mail: scalbert@clermont.inra.fr





The diversity of the chemical structures of dietary polyphenols makes it difficult to estimate their total content in foods, and also to understand the role of polyphenols in health and the prevention of diseases. Global redox colorimetric assays have commonly been used to estimate the total polyphenol content in foods. However, these assays lack specificity. Contents of individual polyphenols have been determined by chromatography. These data, scattered in several hundred publications, have been compiled in the Phenol-Explorer database. The aim of this paper is to identify the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols using this database.



Advanced queries in the Phenol-Explorer database (www.phenol-explorer.eu) allowed retrieval of information on the content of 502 polyphenol glycosides, esters and aglycones in 452 foods. Total polyphenol content was calculated as the sum of the contents of all individual polyphenols. These content values were compared with the content of antioxidants estimated using the Folin assay method in the same foods. These values were also extracted from the same database. Amounts per serving were calculated using common serving sizes.



A list of the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols was produced, with contents varying from 15000mg per 100g in cloves to 10mg per 100ml in rosé wine. The richest sources were various spices and dried herbs, cocoa products, some darkly coloured berries, some seeds (flaxseed) and nuts (chestnut, hazelnut) and some vegetables, including olive and globe artichoke heads. A list of the 89 foods and beverages providing more than 1mg of total polyphenols per serving was established. A comparison of total polyphenol contents with antioxidant contents, as determined by the Folin assay, also showed that Folin values systematically exceed the total polyphenol content values.



The comprehensive Phenol-Explorer data were used for the first time to identify the richest dietary sources of polyphenols and the foods contributing most significantly to polyphenol intake as inferred from their content per serving.


polyphenols; flavonoids; phenolic acids; antioxidants; content in foods; Phenol-Explorer

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