In the last few years there has been a lot of interest in the scientific community in flavonoids, and how they may be beneficial to health. Studies have shown that flavonoids may reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions, and they are particularly effective at protecting the brain.
Flavonoids occur naturally in many foods, and so it’s important to know which foods are high in these types of antioxidants so you can adjust your diet and reap the benefits.
Flavonoids are a group of naturally-occurring antioxidants that are responsible for the deep colours in some fruits and vegetables.
What Are Flavonoids?
There are over 4,000 compounds classed as flavonoids, and each has its own distinct colour, flavour, and chemical properties. Some examples of flavonoids include quercetin, which has a bitter flavour and is found in kale and red onions, and kaempferol, a yellow compound that is found in broccoli, grapes, tomatoes, and tea.
As well as being responsible for pigmentation, flavonoids are known to have several health benefits due to their effects on the immune system and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Flavonoids are a big part of the reason why fruits and vegetables are so good for you. Consuming foods high in flavonoids offers several health benefits including:
Reduced Risk of Developing Serious Health Conditions
Consuming flavonoids is known to reduce your risk of developing several health conditions including heart disease, stroke, and asthma. This is due to a combination of factors that flavonoids introduce to the body.
Their antioxidant effects protect the body from free radical damage, which is known to contribute to health conditions such as heart disease. Flavonoids are also known to have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, and chronic inflammation is linked with several conditions including asthma, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Enhance Memory and Mood
Flavonoids are particularly strong in their ability to protect the brain from free radical damage. This is associated with mental decline, poor memory, fatigue, and mood disorders. One study showed that increased consumption of flavonoids had a positive effect on the mood of children and young adults.
Antioxidants work by fighting free radicals in the body, which helps to prevent cell damage. This can help to slow down the aging process. Studies have also shown that flavonoid consumption may help to increase longevity and reduce the risk of premature ageing.
Improve Bone Health
Studies have shown that certain flavonoids may contribute to healthy bone growth and prevent bone reabsorption as the body ages. This may be particularly helpful for post-menopausal women and other people at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Foods Containing Flavonoids
Flavonoids are naturally occurring in many fruits and vegetables. Some foods with the highest levels of flavonoids include:
Black and red grapes and red wine – high in resveratrol, which is mainly found in the skin and seeds.
Apples – contain quercetin, which is thought to lower the risk of lung cancer, and improve cardiovascular health.
Pomegranates – known to be particularly high in flavonoids including quercetin, kaempferol and luteolin glycosides, and may be effective at reducing the risk of developing several cancers.
Green tea – contains a flavonoid called epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC). This particular flavonoid is known to suppress the spread of cancer and tumours, and is more potent than some chemotherapy drugs.
Chocolate – cocoa contains several flavonoids that are known to support the cardiovascular system, and may improve cognitive performance.
Blueberries – particularly high in a group of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which may prevent against high blood pressure and protect against obesity.
While you can increase your consumption of flavonoids by adding more of these flavonoids foods into your everyday diet, you may also benefit from taking supplements that contain high concentrations of flavonoids.
For more information about the health benefits of flavonoids and other antioxidants, or if you need help choosing the best flavonoids supplement for you, please get in touch with our friendly team for further advice.