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Flavonoids - what are they?

2021-10-25
Flavonoids - what are they?

Substances naturally occurring in plants, characterized by extremely health-promoting properties, are called flavonoids. Their extremely positive impact on the human body was discovered in the 1930s. The scientist who made the discovery initially named them "citrons", but they were later christened "bioflavonoids". However, a shorter term is commonly used. Flavones are compounds that have been discovered in numbers exceeding over 8,000. But what are flavonols? They are compounds found in all kinds of vegetables, fruits, and herbs, and they are responsible for the strength of the plant's immune system. Moreover, it is flavonoids that are pigments giving plants specific colors, and sometimes also influencing their scent and taste.

Flavonoids - division

  • Flavonoids - division This specific group of compounds found in plants is divided into six specific classes. These are:
  • Flavonols - e.g., quercetin and kaempferol.
  • Flavanols - among them are catechin, epicatechin, and epigallocatechin.
  • Isoflavones - here you can distinguish genistein and daidzein.
  • Flavones - diosmin, luteolin, apigenin, and others. Flavanones - e.g., naringenin and hesperidin.
  • Anthocyanins - pelargonidin and cyanidin. It is worth noting that flavonoids belong to the group of compounds which, together with terpenoids, constitute secondary metabolites.

What action do flavonoids have?

Although naturally flavonoids occur in plants, it will not be surprising to say that they are often very important in the treatment process of many diseases. The reason for this are the specific properties demonstrated by flavonoids. The actions that characterize them include:

  • Anticancer and antioxidant activity,
  • Inhibiting allergic and inflammatory activity,
  • Reducing the risk of blood clots,
  • Alleviating menopause symptoms,
  • Antidiabetic action,
  • Hepatoprotective and diuretic action,
  • Delaying aging processes,
  • Antiviral action,
  • used in therapy.

Where do flavonoids occur?

Surely it is very interesting where flavonoids occur significantly. Contrary to appearances, large amounts of them can be found in various types of preparations taken with food. They can be found in medicines and supplements, among which quercetin (in combating allergies), rutin (paired with vitamin C), and diosmin are most often encountered. However, it is not only in preparations, medicines, and supplements that most flavonoids can be found, but in food. However, sometimes it is necessary to supply the body with specific types of flavonoids. An example can be luteolin, responsible for protecting nerve cells, improving memory and concentration. Where to buy preparations containing large amounts of it? For this purpose, it is enough to buy supplements available on the market, avoiding their excessive consumption. As with the supplementation of other chemical compounds, we must carefully monitor how many specific flavonoids we deliver to our body. An even better solution is to opt for eating natural foods.

Flavonoids - occurrence in the diet

Plants and various types of preserves are an excellent source of unique compounds, such as flavonoids. Where will we find the most of them? It all depends on what exactly we are looking for. First of all, however, you should reach for vegetables and fruits. As research shows, an excellent source of flavonoids are:

  • Red wine,
  • Green and black tea At the same time, heat treatment kills some flavonoids.

In the case of fruits and vegetables, it is worth taking care to consume them in an unprocessed, raw form. At the same time, each class has main types of food in which they can be found. For individual classes, these include, among others:

  • Isoflavones - we will find them in legume plants, soybeans, and soy products produced.
  • Flavanols - a great source of them is tea, red wine. Apples, kiwi, and dark chocolate.
  • Flavonols - again, you should drink tea here, but also eat apples, onions, lettuce, dark grapes.
  • Flavones - we will experience the wealth of these ingredients in red pepper, celery, parsley, thyme, and lemons.
  • Flavanones - buying oranges and grapefruits will be the best solution.
  • Anthocyanins - excellent sources of them are: grapes, red wine, strawberries, and cherries.

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