Flavonoids and cinnamates are widespread phenolic secondary metabolites synthesized by plants for defensive purposes. Many foods and beverages contain high levels of phenolic compounds. Certain phenolics in the diet are particularly bio-active and have pronounced effects on mammalian cells. These effects, together with epidemiological studies and animal models, have led to the hypothesis that dietary phenolics contribute to the health benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. This paper examines the biochemistry of the uptake and metabolic route of two groups of plant phenolics, the flavonols and hydroxycinnamates.

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