Overconsumption of processed foods along with low fruit and vegetable consumption, never mind the overcooking of those vegetables we do eat, is the main cause of flavonoid deficiency. This is important because we are missing out on many potential health benefits.
Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients best known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They can be effective in reducing free radical cell damage, while some studies have shown people who consume a high-flavonoid routine nutrition have better protection of certain cell types, such as red blood cells.
The good news is it’s easy to increase consumption – and it takes surprisingly little to gain results. A good indication of flavonoids in fruit and vegetables is colour: think of the blue in blueberries or the scarlet red in peppers, however they can also be found in legumes, nuts, seeds, cocoa and tea.
A rainbow that summons up the blood
Flavonoids offer benefits for metabolic and cardiovascular health as it appears they make the arteries more flexible, increasing blood flow. This means men have a particularly good incentive to adopt a flavonoid-rich routine nutrition. Indeed, according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, men who consumed just three servings of flavonoid-rich foods per week (such as berries, grapes, apples, pears and citrus fruits) were on average 10% less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED).
No shortage of options to try
There are over 6000 flavonoids, so it is best to consume as wide a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and other plant-based foods as possible, in order to maximise health benefits. This also means there is a better chance of finding something that suits our taste, while emphasising that there is no single ‘silver bullet’ flavonoid; think of them instead as a quiver full of arrows that can hit a whole number of health bullseyes; just enjoy the journey trying as wide a range of foods as you can.
Food preparation – think ‘firm’
As flavonoids are water-soluble, they can fall victim to over boiling. Colour changes in fruits and vegetables are a good indicator of overcooking, as the vibrant colour becomes duller or disappears. Best to aim for ‘al dente’. And as most flavonoids are found in the skin or outer layers, eat these if possible.
General preparation can also risk reducing flavonoid levels. To protect them, store them whole until ready to be eaten; pre-cutting, pre-slicing and of course pre-peeling can greatly affect the content.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Hippocrates was right; real food is rich in nutrients that are good for us, with flavonoids providing a great example of the health benefits real food can provide.
If you are interested in eating food for better health, check out Just Routine, our real food app.
Supplementation warning: before you consider flavonoid supplementation speak to your doctor or registered dietician. High consumption of dietary flavonoids is generally considered safe. However, supplements may affect the action of anticoagulants and increase the toxicity of a wide range of drugs when taken concurrently.
If you want to receive notification of the next Article posting please enter your email address in the subscribe section on the Home Page.