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What are flavonoids?

Flavonoids are plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties, which means they reduce inflammation, promote healthy arteries, and help fight aging by preventing -- and repairing -- cellular damage. Flavonoids may also protect against dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and some cancers.
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics
Flavonoids are the components responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables; they have been found to be important for our health. Although they have not reached "star" recognition yet, consumers are starting to hear more about them.

Many studies are showing flavonoids to have versatile health benefits. For instance, they may prevent heart diseases and some types of cancers. Some of the key flavonoids are flavonols, isoflavones and catechins. Foods rich in flavonoids are green tea, spices, soy and fruits such as: oranges, pink grapefruit, blueberries, red and purple grapes.
Some foods, such as grapes, tea and chocolate, contain special components called phytochemicals that may be beneficial to your heart health. Enjoying them in moderation may be doing something healthy for your heart. 

Flavonoids are one group of phytochemicals found naturally in red wine, tea, cocoa, soy, citrus fruits, berries, apples, onions and pulses (dried beans, peas and lentils). There are thousands of different flavonoids found in many different foods. For example, there are catechins in tea, flavanols in cocoa and isoflavones in soy. Research shows a variety of flavonoids may be beneficial for your heart health. 

Flavonoids act as a shield in plants to protect against toxins and to help repair damage. It is thought that when we eat flavonoids, they act similarly within the body. As antioxidants, they help prevent damage from free radicals that can build up during normal body processes, such as breathing. When flavonoids prevent free radicals from building up, oxidation of "bad" lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol decreases, which prevents atherosclerosis, or plaque formation within the walls of the arteries. Flavonoids also appear to help prevent blood clotting, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, decrease inflammation and help with insulin sensitivity. Thus, although more research is needed, eating a variety of foods rich in flavonoids may lower your risk of heart disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.