- A phenolic acid is a type of phytochemical called a polyphenol. Other types of polyphenols include flavonoids and stilbenes. Phenolic acids are found in a variety of plant-based foods; the seeds and skins of fruits and the leaves of vegetables contain the highest concentrations. Phenolic acids are easily absorbed through the walls of your intestinal tract, and they may be beneficial to your health because they work as antioxidants that prevent cellular damage due to free-radical oxidation reactions.
- They may also promote anti-inflammatory conditions in your body when you eat them regularly. Phenolic acids are abundant in a balanced diet. You should get plenty of them as long as you consume adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Examples of foods rich in phenolic acids include mangos, berries, apples, citrus fruits, plums, cherries, kiwis, onions, tea, coffee, red wine, and flour made from whole wheat, rice, corn or oats.There are many different phenolic acids found in nature and they can be divided into two categories: benzoic acid derivatives, such as gallic acid; and cinnamic acid derivatives, including caffeic acid and ferulic acid. The cinnamiac acids are more common.Gallic acid is found in tea and grape seeds. Coffee contains caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid. Blueberries, kiwis, plums, cherries and apples contain large amounts of caffeic acid. Red wine and citrus fruits contain cinnamic acid. Ferulic acid is found in the outer coverings of cereal grains. Corn flour has the most ferulic acid, and whole grain wheat, rice, and oat flours are good sources of ferulic acid as well.
- Foods rich in phenolic acids may be beneficial for your health, but it’s difficult to understand how much of that benefit is actually due to the phenolic acids, or to the nutrients, fiber and other phytochemicals also found in those foods. Here are a few examples. Flavonoids (another category of polyphenol) are often found in the same foods as the phenolic acids, and most fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and fiber.