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Written by Brenton Wight, Health Researcher, LeanMachine
Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight, LeanMachine
What Are Flavonoids?
Also called phytonutrients, flavonoids are a class of polyphenols.
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (Nobel Prize-winning physiologist), who also first isolated vitamin C, carried out work in the 1930’s identifying different flavonoids and properties, giving flavonoids the classification of “Vitamin P”.
Flavonoids are highly concentrated nutritional elements, essential for correct functioning of every cell and organ in the body.
Flavonoids protect plants fungi, pests, bacteria and other pathogens, as well as giving plants their colour, flavour and scent.
About 5,000 different flavonoids have been identified so far, each providing important functions in the body.
The most important functions:
1. Essential for absorption of Vitamin C, responsible for tissue growth and repair.
2. Essential for maintenance of bones and teeth.
3. Essential for production of collagen, along with Vitamin C for skin, muscles, blood vessels, immunity etc.
4. Essential for the brain and the cardiovascular system.
5. Essential for resistance to disease and cancer.
Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants.
Oxidative damage from free radicals is a big de-generative health issue in our toxic world.
Processed foods contain little or no flavonoids.
Cooking destroys most of Vitamins C, B1, B5, B6 and B9 (folate), and Flavonoids are damaged as well. Oxygen also degrades vitamins and flavonoids.
Vegetables that are cut or juiced should be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator, but cutting, cooking or juicing is best carried out as close as possible to meal time, and either no cooking (salads) or lightly steaming is best. High-temperature cooking is best avoided altogether.
Flavonoids help destroy free radicals, improving health and preventing disease, including cancers.
Read more in my upcoming Antioxidants article.
Types of Flavonoids
Anthoxanthins, comprising 2 subgroups: flavone and flavonol (or 3-hydroxy flavone)
Flavanones (with an “a”)
Flavonols (with an “o”)
Flavans comprising subgroups Flavan-3-ols (flavanols), Theaflavin, Thearubigin
Isoflavonoids comprising subgroups Isoflavones, Isoflavanes, Isoflavandiols, Isoflavenes, Coumestans, Pterocarpans
Some best-known flavonoids include:
- myricetin from foods including oranges, blueberry leaves, grape seeds, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, garlic
- apigenin from foods including grapefruit, parsley, onions, oranges, tea, chamomile, wheat sprouts
- hesperidin from foods including oranges, lemons, grapefruit, apricots, plums, bilberry, green and yellow peppers, broccoli
- quercetin from foods including apples, berries, parsley, capers, buckwheat, onions, peppers
- rutin from foods including buckwheat, asparagus, apples (skin), figs, black tea, green tea, elderflower tea
- luteolin from foods including radicchio (red chicory), green peppers, chicory greens, celery, pumpkin, artichoke, red leaf lettuce
- catechin from foods including green tea
Foods containing Flavonoids
All plant foods contain flavonoids.
Here are some of the highest flavonoid content foods:
- Blueberries and other berries
- Black tea, green tea and oolong tea
- Citrus fruits
- Ginkgo biloba
- Red wine
- Dark chocolate (over 70% cacao)
Any information here is for educational purposes, and the needs of each individual varies, so everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure that there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been researching nutrition and health since 2010, and has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.