Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day! This is what is highly recommended and heavily advertised nowadays to the general public to stay fit and healthy! Drinking green tea on a regular basis, eating chocolate from time to time, as well as savoring a couple of glasses of red wine per day have been claimed to increase life expectancy even further! Why? The answer is in fact still under scientific scrutiny, but a particular class of compounds naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables is considered to be crucial for the expression of such human health benefits: the polyphenols! What are these plant products really? What are their physicochemical properties? How do they express their biological activity? Are they really valuable for disease prevention? Can they be used to develop new pharmaceutical drugs? What recent progress has been made toward their preparation by organic synthesis? This Review gives answers from a chemical perspective, summarizes the state of the art, and highlights the most significant advances in the field of polyphenol research.
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