Antioxidants are wonderful things. They slow down the rate in which we age, and they help us look and feel younger than we actually are. Antioxidants are nutrients that are found in many of the foods we eat. They help to protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that cause cell damage and can cause illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and asthma. There are several types of antioxidants that can be distributed into two categories. They are the flavonoids and the nonflavonoids. This article will take a look at flavonoids.
What Are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids are hundreds of thousands of various substances that are found in plants. These substances are what give the pigmentation to the plants. Plants that are red, yellow, orange all get their pigmentation from flavonoids. Hungarian scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi discovered these flavonoids in 1938, and called them “vitamin P”. The chemistry of the flavonoid is very complex and are separated into many groups. Each group includes hundreds, if not thousands of various flavonoids.
What Are The Different Types Of Flavonoids?
There are over 4,000 types of flavonoids that have been identified, and they can be placed into six different groups.
This type of flavanoid is most commonly found in blue and red foods. Some of these foods include grapes, berries, and red wine. Anthocyanidins are said to aid with the health of blood vessels, which can prevent heart attack and stroke.
Flavanols are a group of flavonoids that can be separated into three classes. The classes are theaflavins, catechins, and proanthocyanidins. Theaflavins and catechins are found in green, white, and black teas. Catechins are more prevalent in green tea, whereas theaflavins are more commonly found in white and black teas. The compounds epicatechin is said to be able to improve blood circulation, as well as being great for heart health. Proanthocyanidins are found in foods such as red grapes, apples, and red wine. They help to boost the amount of vitamin C within cells and may prevent damage to collagen.
This group of flavonoids is located in citrus juices and citrus fruit. They are abundant in oranges, lemons, and grapefruits.
One of the more commonly known flavonoid of this type is quercetin. It’s the most abundant in kale, scallions, yellow onions, berries, apples, broccoli, and teas.
These flavonoids are found mainly in citrus skin, but are also found in celery, thyme, parsley, and hot peppers.
You will find this group of flavonoids in legumes. These flavonoids are said to lower blood cholesterol, ease menstrual symptoms, and prevent osteoporosis.
What Do Flavonoids Do?
As a part of their antioxidant quality, flavonoids are great anti-inflammatory agents and antibiotics. Flavonoids can increase the body’s resistance to viral illnesses, such as herpes, and even to the auto-immune disease HIV. Inflammation due to arthritis has been known to decrease in people who have a diet rich in flavonoids.
Lycopene is a well known flavonoid and is known to be very helpful in lowering the risk of certain cancers, such as cervical cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, as well as others. A diet rich in flavonoids can reduce the risk of cardiovascular and heart disease.
Memory problems including Alzheimer’s can be aided by consuming a diet rich in flavonoids. Memory is linked to how much blood flow and oxygen are able to get to the brain. The more the pathways for blood are blocked with fat, the more cells in the brain die due the lack of oxygen. The more cells that die in the brain causes a person’s memory to be deficient.
There are a lot of health reasons that people should eat foods that are high in flavoinoids. These antioxidants have so many health benefits, and can prevent many probable ailments and diseases that a person can get as they age. It’s so simple to incorporate flavonoids into your diet. They’re found in every fruit imaginable, as well as vegetables. So the next time you choose a juicy red apple for an afternoon snack, you will not only be sure that it’s a good low calorie snack, but you’ll also know you’re helping yourself to prevent diseases that can harm you in the future.