Many have already heard the term flavonoids, but most of the time they have no idea what they are. Flavonoids are present in plants (fruits and vegetables), they are responsible for giving them color, they protect them from harmful environmental factors and they are also known as phytochemicals. Flavonoids are not only useful and healthy for plants, but also for humans.

What foods are rich in flavonoids?

Commonly the fruits and vegetables of an intense red color are very rich in flavonoids, some examples are:

  • Beet
  • Purple cabbage
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Grapes

But there are many more foods that are rich in flavonoids and polyphenols.

The effect of flavonoids on the human body

People who frequently eat fruits and vegetables that are high in flavonoids have a strengthened immune system, as flavonoids bind and control free radicals in the body and also protect against cancer. These are also apt to protect the cardiovascular system and have antiviral, anti-inflammatory , antifungal, anticancer, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

The set of phytochemicals, which includes flavonoids, not only provides an attractive color to plants, but is also important for their taste. This is why these fruits and vegetables often taste great.

Flavonoids and diabetes

Many studies have found that flavonoids originated in food could improve glucose metabolism, lipid profile, regulating hormones and enzymes in the human body, further protecting humans from diseases such as obesity, diabetes and its complications. [1,2,3,4,5]

Why are flavonoids so healthy?

Flavonoids are capable of trapping free radicals in the body as they have arms that serve to grab and bind them. In addition to this, flavonoids can easily flush free radicals out of the body without causing any harm.

Some flavonoids behave in the body similar to an antibiotic. They are able to prevent the reproduction of bacteria and the spread of viruses.

Apple peel contains not only flavonoids but also pectin. When eating fruits that contain flavonoids and pectin, a satiety effect can be observed that lasts longer, that is, it eliminates the feeling of appetite for longer. Thanks to this, you will not only be able to keep your blood sugar stable due to the fiber it contains, but you will also be able to lose weight more quickly. Foods rich in phytochemicals contain flavonoids designed to prevent obesity and reduce the risk of developing cancer.

The effect of flavonoids on obesity could be demonstrated through studies

American scientists looked at more than 124,000 women and men over the age of 25. They had to complete questionnaires during this observation period, with the help of which their eating behavior could be analyzed. 

Participants who frequently consumed foods rich in flavonoids, such as apples, strawberries, blueberries, etc., had significantly less weight gain than the other group. Scientists say that flavonoids are responsible for this, not fiber as is commonly believed.

They concluded that flavonoids not only have a positive effect on sugar metabolism, but can also reduce fat formation. They also found that they can slow the proliferation of cancer cells and avoid pathogens.

Flavonoids against diabetes

Flavonoids have a considerably positive effect against diabetes . If you are at higher risk for diabetes, you should eat more foods rich in flavonoids and anthocyanins.

These foods include thyme, parsley, onion, wine, and celery. However, flavonoids are not a drug for diabetes and cannot replace your treatment. But it’s nice to know that you can enjoy delicious food, without having to feel guilty afterward. Flavonoids are found only in plant-based foods because animals cannot create them naturally.

Natural food products have been used to fight human disease for thousands of years. Naturally-derived flavonoids, which include flavones, flavonols, flavanones, flavanols, isoflavones, and anthocyanidins, have been proposed as effective supplements for the treatment and prevention of diabetes and its long-term complications based on in vitro and animal models.

Dr. Eric Jackson

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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