Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants, and sturdy defenders against heart disease and cancer. See also my article titled: Antioxidants in green leafy vegetables
Like carotenoids, flavonoids add color – specifically red, yellow, blue and shades of brown
to the foods we eat and drink.
Present mostly in apples, celery, cocoa, (dark chocolate), cranberries, grapes, broccoli, endive, onions, green and black teas, and red wines.
But experts are beginning to discover that these compounds are doing more.
Some flavonoids make the linings of blood vessels more supple, lowering blood pressure and protecting against a buildup of heart- threatening plague. In one study, grape juice and
chocolate had this effect. Flavovoids also act like Teflon coating for the millions of tiny disks in your blood called platelets. They keep the platelets from clumbing together in the bloodstream and forming clots, which helps prevent heart attacks and stroke.
A recent study at the Harvard Medical School lab has found that one magical flavonoid found in wine and grapes: resveratrol, also lowers blood sugar levels and boosts liver function. In fact, in a group of lucky mice, it increased longevity by 31%.
In one study at the university of Virginia, resveratrol – found in grape skins, raspberries,
mulberries, and peanuts – literally starved cancer cells by interfering with a protein called
nuclear factor-kappa B, that helps food them.
In one Dutch study that examined the eating habits of 800 men, aged between 65 and 84,
researchers found that those who got the least flavonoids in their diets, were 32% more
likely to die from heart attacks than those who ate the most. It didn’t take many flavonoids
to get the benefits. The high-flavonoid group had the equivalent of 4 cops of black tea,
a half cup of apple, and 1//8 cup of onions per day.
When it comes to cancer prevention, flavonoids may help out by influencing cel-signaling
pathways – the way cells turn genes on and off in order to perform thousands of everyday
maintenance activities. Flavonoids may help turn on genes that stop cancer cells from
dividing or invading healthy tissues, or even help activate genes that make cancer cells
commit suicide, say experts from the Linus Pauling Research Institute at Oregon State
University in Corvallis.
In a recent study at the University of California, Los Angeles, those prostate-cancer
survivors who drank 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily, increased by nearly 4 times
the period during which their PSA levels (prostate specific antigens) a cancer biomaker,
stayed constant. The study even surprised the researchers, who say that the combination
of flavonoids, anti-inflammatory compounds, and antioxidants in pomegranate juice
may be responsible.