Are Flavonoids Antioxidants?

Foods rich in Flavonoids
Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of flavonoids.

What are flavonoids and what are their health benefits? Which foods are rich sources of flavonoids?

Flavonoids are antioxidants. They help prevent your body from oxidative stress. Thus. flavonoids lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological disease, respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, and diabetes.

Oxidative stress is the result of the imbalance between the production and accumulation of free radicals (also known as reactive oxygen species) in your body’s cells and tissues, and the ability of your body to neutralize them. Free radicals are metabolic by-products. Common free radicals include superoxide radicals, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radicals, and singlet oxygen.

Biochemical processes, for example, protein phosphorylation, activation of transcriptional factors, apoptosis, immunity, and differentiation, depend on the balanced production, and the presence of reactive oxygen species at low levels inside the cells of your body. Antioxidants such as flavonoids, polyphenols, and vitamin E detoxify the reactive oxygen species thereby reducing oxidative stress and your risk of various diseases. 

What are flavonoids?

Flavonoids are natural compounds that have variable phenolic structures. They are plant chemicals (phytonutrients) and they are the largest group of plant chemicals with more than 6,000 types. 

Flavonoids and carotenoids give fruits and vegetables their vivid colors. Rich sources of dietary flavonoids are fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea, and wine.

Some people eat their fruits and vegetables daily, and others make delicious healthy fruit and vegetable drinks or smoothies using a fruit juice-making machine or a blender.

Flavonoids have got so many health benefits that are why they are now used as some of the components in the manufacture of various nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, medicinal, and cosmetic products.

Classification of flavonoids: 

The subdivision of flavonoids depends on:

  • The carbon of the C ring on which the B ring is attached.
  • The degree of unsaturation and oxidation of the C ring.

Isoflavones have the B ring attached in position 3 of the C ring. The B ring in neoflavonoids is linked in position 4 of the C ring.

The flavonoids in which the B ring is linked in position 2 of the C ring can be further subdivided into many subgroups depending on the structural features of the C ring. These subgroups are flavones, flavonols, flavanones, flavanonols, flavanols or catechins, anthocyanins, and chalcones.

Health benefits of flavonoids:

Flavonoids help you manage your blood pressure. Jaime L Clark and colleagues, 2015, reviewed published literature about how flavonoids help in the management of blood pressure. They found out that many articles reported that flavonoids reduce blood pressure during hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus. They manage to do this by restoring endothelial function by affecting nitric oxide levels or through other pathways.

The researchers also found out that quercetin is reported as the most consistent blood pressure-lowering flavonoid. Quercetin is also used as a food supplement to reduce allergic responses or boost immunity.

Valentina Ponzo and colleagues, 2015, investigated the cardio-protective effects of dietary flavonoids. They found out that regular consumption of foods rich in flavonoids reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Recent investigations on the relationship between flavonoids intake and type 2 diabetes mellitus have reported that regular intake of foods high in flavonoids reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Furthermore, recent studies have shown that flavonoids have strong antioxidant effects, are anti-inflammatory, and they also decrease your risk of getting certain cancers.

Conclusion:

To get your daily required amount of flavonoids in your body, you should regularly eat fruits and vegetables. Some people make fruit and vegetable juices or smoothies, and others just eat them as they are or cook them.

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(1) All content found in my articles, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in my publications. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call the emergency hotline in your country immediately. My publications do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, or opinions. Reliance on any information in my publications is solely at your own risk.

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References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26491142/

https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-015-0573-2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5959406/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210013/

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