Overlooked, But Not Forgotten: Flavonoids

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Flavonoids are famous for their bright beauty in the foods we eat and for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits.

Description of Flavonoids

Flavonoids are phytonutrients that are famous for their vivid pigments, such as those seen in blueberries and raspberries. The name Flavonoid actually is derived from the Latin word flavus, which means “yellow.”

These nutrients are typically found in vegetables and nuts and are known to support the cardiovascular and nervous systems as well as provide antioxidants and help with anti-inflammation. Due to their support of detoxification, they have also been associated with decreasing the risk of lung and breast cancer. It is important to note that it is not known how much flavonoids are needed to produce the decreased risk of cancer, and some research rejects that claim altogether.

Good Sources of Flavonoids

Some of the best sources of flavonoids are berries, vegetables, and even spices. It is always best to consume nutrients from diet, but that might not always be possible. If increasing your intake of flavonoids through diet alone is not feasible, consider a daily vitamin like Kyani to help boost your nutrient intake.

Benefits of Antioxidants

Many flavonoids, particularly those from the flavonoid subgroups titled flavonols and flavan-3-ols, can be especially effective at reducing the damage free radicals have on cells. It is not settled, though, if we ought to regard flavonoids as falling into the same category as more well-known antioxidant nutrients like Vitamin C or Vitamin E.

It is disputed whether flavonoids should be grouped with other antioxidants because many antioxidant functions of flavonoids only occur because they have been altered by our metabolism in such a way to do so.

Recent studies have shown how flavonoids alter the transport of Vitamin C in the body and alter the function of the enzyme which converts Vitamin C into non-vitamin form, ascorbate oxidase. Though we do not know the exact nature of the relationship between flavonoids and Vitamin C, we do observe that many foods high in flavonoids are also high in Vitamin C.

Anti-Inflammation Benefits

The anti-inflammation benefits of flavonoids have often been attributed to their ability to block the production of molecules and inhibit the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes that promote inflammation.

Benefits to the Cardiovascular System

Flavonoids help protect LDL cholesterol from receiving oxygen-related damage, and in turn the LDL cholesterol molecules lower the risk of atherosclerosis. Flavonoids like rutin and hesperidin have even been shown to increase the strength and durability of blood vessel walls, which lowers the risk of blood vessel complications.

Many flavonoids have been proven to prevent excessive clumping of platelet cells that would lead to clogged blood vessels.

Supporting the Nervous System

Flavonoid intake protects nerve cells from oxygen-based damage and help during the slow process of regenerating nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Preliminary evidence even supports the belief that flavonoids help delay neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Other preliminary evidence suggests that flavonoids help improve blood flow in the brain and help cognitive functions work better.

Miscellaneous Health Benefits

Flavonoids are a diverse group of nutrients, and differences in certain subgroups may account for the mixed results in experiments to determine if they can help prevent cancer.

One overlooked health benefit is the flavonoids’ ability to better regulate cell cycles. Flavonoids ensure a balance between cells during apoptosis, where cells endure a series of self-recycling activities.

Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=119

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