Flavonoids are molecules with high antioxidant power that are found in many vegetables, including red fruits, legumes, tea and cocoa. Find out why taking them is good for your health!
Flavonoids are a group of more than 6,000 molecules with powerful antioxidant activity and associated with a lower risk of developing chronic diseases. Let’s discover them together!
Chemical characteristics of flavonoids
Flavonoids are a very numerous class of compounds, which includes over 6,000 molecules, therefore, they have been divided into different categories, each of which is more present in some plants. Let’s see some of them:
- Flavanols: berries, peaches, grapes, red wine, onions, cabbage, cocoa, tea.
- Flavones: celery, parsley, mint, chamomile.
- Flavanones: grapefruit, lemons, oranges.
- Isoflavones: legumes, especially soybeans and broad beans.
- Anthocyanins: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, red wine, cocoa.
On the market flavonoids are also found in the form of supplements, useful especially in case of low intake of foods of plant origin. As with all supplements, their use should always be evaluated with your doctor, based on your diet and your state of health.
If, on the other hand, your diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and legumes, flavonoid supplementation may be superfluous. Recall that the portions of vegetables recommended by the Reference Intake Levels of Nutrients and Energy for the Italian population (LARN), correspond to:
- 200 g for vegetables, 2 or more times a day
- 150 g of fresh fruit, 2-3 times a day
- 150 g of canned legumes or 50 g of dried legumes, at least 3 times a week.
The quantity and frequency of foods must be customized according to your energy-nutritional needs, which depends on age, anthropometric values and state of health.
Properties and benefits of flavonoids
Flavonoids act primarily as antioxidants. They reduce inflammation and are able to counteract the activity of free radicals, which cause oxidative stress and cellular damage, associated with a greater risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes 2, cancer, cardiovascular or autoimmune diseases.
That is why introducing them regularly with the diet, through an adequate intake of vegetables, could remove the risk of getting sick and improve one’s state of health in general.
- They counteract hypertension.
- They reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, especially the flavonoids found in tea, coffee and soy.
- They reduce the risk of diabetes 2.
- They reduce the risk of cancer.
- They promote weight control.
In general, there are no specific contraindications for flavonoids. As a large and complex class, individual actions and interactions must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.