What are flavonoids?
OK, back to high school biology for some answers. Flavonoids are a type of phytochemical or plant chemical that are widely distributed in the plant kingdom. They create the vibrant colors of many fruits, vegetables and flowers, and have been found to have a variety of health benefits.
“Flavonoids aren’t really digested or absorbed the same as other nutrients like protein or carbohydrates,” explains Flora. Instead, our gut bacteria break down flavonoids and use them to benefit different parts of our bodies, such as providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Flavonoids are further grouped into different subclasses based on their own chemical structure and how they’re broken down. This is why the type of flavonoid you’re getting will depend on the foods you’re eating. (More on that in a moment).
“The color of the food will actually give you a hint of what subgroup of flavonoid it is,” notes Flora.
Benefits of flavonoids
Research has shown that flavonoids have a range of health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. They’ve been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, as well as improved cognitive function.
According to Alena Clark, PhD and reviewed by Ashley Baumohl, MPH, RD “Quercetin, a plant pigment, is said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. This chemical compound (flavonoid) is naturally found in foods including apples, onions, teas, berries, red wine, and herbs like ginkgo biloba and St. John’s wort. It is also available in supplement form. Quercetin is sometimes used in various health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and COVID-19.”
I am a HUGE fan of quercetin for its benefits associated with lung and cardiovascular health. Please check that out as a stand alone supplement. If you have any asthma or chronic lung issues this may bring relief… check with a nutritionist on that one.
Here are some of the known benefits of flavonoids:
A research study from 2011 found that flavonoids play an important role in fighting cancer.
According to Flora, flavonols — a type of flavonoid — can help with promoting the cell life cycle and even discouraging the growth in some cancers.
Your heart can benefit from a flavonoid-rich diet as well. Specifically, they’ve been shown to help with relieving symptoms of hypertension (high blood pressure). A 2021 study found an association between lower blood pressure and a higher intake of flavonoid-based foods like apples, berries and pears. This is largely why you’ll notice a lot of the flavonoid-rich fruits in the Mediterranean diet, which is known for benefiting your heart.
“They do this by helping with blood vessel relaxation and preventing blood clots from forming,” states Flora.
Flavonoids are also linked to promoting brain health, decreasing neuro-inflammation and improving blood flow to the brain. A 2022 review found that having a flavonoid-rich diet was associated with higher cognitive and memory function, especially for aging adults.
How much do you need?
There isn’t any established recommended daily intake or daily value for flavonoids. But research suggests that a higher intake of flavonoids may have health benefits, and consuming a diet rich in flavonoid-containing foods is generally recommended for overall health and well-being. The amount of flavonoids needed in your diet will vary depending on individual factors such as your age, sex and overall health status.
How to get flavonoids from food and why we probably should get them in supplements.
The best way to get flavonoids into your system is directly from food and drink sources. Foods that are rich in flavonoids include berries, citrus fruits, tea, wine, onions and cocoa. Sadly, the average diet does not come close to offering up enough flavonoids to be optimal for health and well being. They are abundant in foods and in many supplements including those in Legit’s product line.
The majority of this article came out of “the Cleveland Clinic”. The Cleveland Clinic is the best source for unbiased, true medical and nutritional advice. They have stepped up their game and are now the pinnacle for peer reviewed medical information. Ever since the New England Journal of Medicine was “caught” mishandling information surrounding covid and the vaccine it is no longer “the one” to look to for medical information. Thank you Cleveland Clinic, you rock!
Strictly opinion and not medical advice. Consult your doctor, pharmacist and/or nutritionist before starting/stopping any supplement or exercise program.