Flavonoids are a group of plant pigments that have recently received a lot of media and medical attention due to their health benefits. The flavonoid class of chemicals can be divided into several subgroups that all contain hundreds to thousands of unique substances.
Health Benefits of Flavonoids
Almost all known flavonoids are antioxidants. Antioxidants help your body get rid of free radicals and thereby prevent or delay the onset of cardiovascular disease, aging effects and cancer. The in vitro antioxidant effects of flavonoids are strengthened by inhibiting the breakdown of vitamin C in your body. Flavonoids also prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, which is one of the main causes of coronary artery disease. Although the exact pathways of flavonoid activity in your body are not completely understood, it is widely accepted that flavonoids play a beneficial role in anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and cell cycle regulatory processes in the body.
Let’s take look at five foods that contain flavonoids:
Almost all fruits are good sources of flavonoids. As a general rule of thumb, you should pick fruits with deeper or more vibrant colors to get the best sources of flavonoids since fruit receives its color from flavonoid pigments. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all great choices. Citrus fruits are another top pick: not only do they contain good amounts of flavonoids, they also supply your body with a good dose of vitamin C.
As with fruits, almost all vegetables contain flavonoids although their variety is less. Since onions are a common staple in people’s diets around the world, they are considered as one of the most important sources of flavonoids. Other good choices are broccoli and kale, garlic, tomatoes and bell peppers.
White, green and black tea leaves contain great amounts of flavonoids.Up to 30% of the tea leaf consists of flavonoids. Due to the processing of black tea and to lesser extent green tea, the percentages are lower than in white tea, although all three types of tea give good amounts of flavonoids. Important flavonoid types in tea are catechins and galic esters as well as quercetin. Quercetin is medically interesting due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant action.
Soy is a good source of isoflavones. Soy flavonoids have been linked to greatly reduced blood cholesterol levels and the prevention of osteoporosis. Soy flavonoids can also play a role in managing the effects of menopause.
Perhaps surprisingly, wine is a great source of flavonoids. When you choose to drink a glass of wine for your daily dose of flavonoids, make sure you drink red wine, since red grapes and the red grape skins that are used to make red wine contain high amounts of flavonoids. It has been suggested that the low occurrence of coronary heart disease in the French, despite their cholesterol-rich diet, could be directly linked to their relatively high intake of red wine.