Epidemiological data have shown an inverse association between the consumption of polyphenol-rich foods and the risk of cardiovascular disease or overall mortality. A comprehensive estimation of individual polyphenol intake in nutritional cohorts is needed to gain a better understanding of this association. The aim of this study was to estimate the quantitative intake of polyphenols and the major dietary sources in the PREDIMED (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea) cohort using individual food consumption records.
The PREDIMED study is a large, parallel-group, multicentre, randomised, controlled 5-year feeding trial aimed at assessing the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. A total of 7200 participants, aged 55-80 years, completed a validated 1-year food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) at baseline. Polyphenol consumption was calculated by matching food consumption data from the FFQ with the recently developed Phenol-Explorer database on polyphenol content in foods. The mean total polyphenol intake was 820 ± 323 mg day(-1) (443 ± 218 mg day(-1) of flavonoids and 304 ± 156 mg day(-1) of phenolic acids). Hydroxycinnamic acids were the phenolic group with the highest consumption and 5-caffeoylquinic acid was the most abundantly ingested individual polyphenol. The consumption of olives and olive oil was a differentiating factor in the phenolic profile of this Spanish population compared with other countries.
In Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, the main dietary source of polyphenols is coffee and fruits, but the most important differentiating factor with respect to other countries is the consumption of polyphenols from olives and olive oil.