Polyphenols are antioxidants contained in plants as olive and grape. As part of the Mediterranean diet, they may decrease the risk of cancer, of chronic and neurodegenerative diseases. Alcohol consumption plays a detrimental effect on health, causing tissue damage and disrupting the metabolism of Neurotrophins (NTs). NTs are crucial proteins for the life cycle of neuronal and non-neuronal cells. Alcohol abuse elicits changes in NTs levels in the brain and in other target organs, however, it was observed minor damage in animals early exposed to red wine, probably due to the antioxidant effects of polyphenols. Indeed, data show that resveratrol or other polyphenols extracted from the olive can effectively counteract serum free radicals’ formation caused by chronic alcohol intake, contrasting also alcohol-induced NTs liver elevation. A review published in the Journal of Functional Foods provides updates to evidence about the antioxidant properties of polyphenols and their role in counteracting alcohol-induced damage.
The authors conclude that the Mediterranean diet is globally known as the dietary pattern that provides the greatest number of positive effects on health that includes food and drink rich in polyphenols as vegetables, fruits, extra-virgin olive oil and a moderate intake of wine. Thus, the detrimental effects of ethanol contained in alcoholic beverages seem to be partly counterbalanced by the presence of polyphenols in the foods and extra-virgin olive oil which yield an important antioxidant action.
Source: Marco Fiore, Marisa Patrizia Messina, Carla Petrella, Alessio D’Angelo, Antonio Greco, Massimo Ralli, Giampiero Ferraguti, Luigi Tarani, Mario Vitali, Mauro Ceccanti. Antioxidant properties of plant polyphenols in the counteraction of alcohol-abuse induced damage: Impact on the Mediterranean diet, Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 71, 2020.