What are flavonoids? Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables. Along with carotenoids, they are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables. They are the largest group of phytonutrients, with more than 6,000 types. Some of the best-known flavonoids are quercetin and kaempferol. In recent years, scientists have turned to various flavonoids to explain some of the health benefits associated with diets rich in fruits and vegetables, according to the Linus Pauling Institute
Read on to discover some of the wonderful health benefits of flavonoids:
Flavonoids are rich in antioxidants! They promote healthier arteries and serve as anti-inflammatory compounds. They also combat signs of aging by rejuvenating and repairing our cells (we love this!) Flavonoids could help prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia, and even some types of cancer by stimulating the production of phase II enzymes. These enzymes destroy mutagens and carcinogens, kill cancer cells, and prevent the growth of tumors.
Flavonoids work very well combined with vitamin C. The combo can help reduce the effects of inflammatory diseases. It can also impede the spread of some viruses and bacteria, like herpes or HIV. Some scientific in vitro studies have shown that flavonoids have this effect, though this hasn’t been proven in clinical trials.
As part of their anti-inflammatory effects: cocoa and chocolate contain a type of flavonoid called flavonols that may reduce dangerous inflammation in the arteries. A 2009 study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that daily consumption of skim milk with 40 g of unsweetened cocoa powder reduced levels of adhesion molecules in human subjects. Adhesion molecules can cause plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk for heart disease, especially atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries
Foods high in flavonoids
So you must be dying to know which foods are high in this wonderful element. Here they are:
- Apples (apple peel is particularly good for your health)
- Blueberries & blueberry juice
- Capers (the biggest veggie source of flavonoids!)
- Red & green onions
- Red wine and red grapes
Do flavonoids carry side effects?
There are no known side effects to consuming lots of food that is high in flavonoids, unless you find out you are specifically sensitive to one of the six types of flavonoids. There’s no reason not to try adding them into your diet. Start reaping the longterm benefits to your health!