What's a Flavonoid?

For starters, it’s the not thing in the Domino’s Pizza commercials from the 80s—that’s the Noid. Flavonoids are a little different. According to Dr. Fuhrman flavonoids are important health-promoting antioxidant phytochemicals found in a variety of plant foods. Here are a few notable sources:
Pomegranate Power
“Pomegranates' potent antioxidant compounds have also been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.1 Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.”

Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus
“Blueberries/Blackberries are packed with tannins, anthocyanidins, flavonoids, polyphenols, and proanthcyanidins that have been linked to prevention and reversal of age-related mental decline. They also have powerful anti-cancer effects. Use frozen organic berries in the winter when fresh ones are not available.”

It's Lime Time
“Nutritionally limes are a very good source of vitamin C, as mentioned before, and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and copper and they are low in sodium. They also contain the flavonoids called flavonol glycosides which have antibiotic properties and are said to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines. Due to the high vitamin C levels and antibiotic properties they are a natural way to prevent gum disease and to ease bacterial infections and colds. They are also a remedy for indigestion, heartburn, and nausea.”
Now these are only the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Fuhrman points out that flavonoids can also be found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. From Popeye Was Right--Greens Pack a Powerful Punch:
Now, which has more vitamin E or vitamin C--broccoli or steak? I'm sure you are aware that steak has no vitamin C or vitamin E. It is also almost totally lacking in fiber, folate, vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, vitamin K, flavonoids, and thousands of other protective phytochemicals. Meat does have certain vitamins and minerals, but even when we consider the nutrients that meat does contain, broccoli has lots more of them. For many important nutrients, broccoli has more than ten times as much as steak. The only exception is vitamin B12, which is not found in plant fare.
So why list all these foods? Because of America’s tendency to romanticize magic beans and miracle cures, that’s why. From ginkgo biloba to protein bars, to ephedra and diet soda, we love quick fixes. And this next report only perpetuates that love affair. According to HealthDay News flavonoids in dark chocolate can boost the function of blood vessels. Robert Preidt reports:
Cocoa is rich in a group of antioxidant compounds called flavonoids, which are also found in fruits and vegetables, wine and green tea. Research suggests that consumption of foods rich in flavonoids may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Yale Prevention Research Center in Connecticut, included 45 healthy people with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 35 kg/m2. The participants were divided into three groups that ate either eight ounces of cocoa without sugar; cocoa with sugar; or a placebo.
Here’s a question. Why bother with the candy? Sure, dark chocolate might have this healthful property, but why risk it? Instead of trying to dupe yourself into not feeling guilty about downing a bag of chocolate, wouldn’t it be smarter to get flavonoids from more health-promoting sources? Like maybe one of the ones Dr. Fuhrman mentions. What do you think?
1. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Rosenblat M, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation:studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71(5):1062-76. Aviram M, Dornfeld L. Pomeganate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin coverting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis 2001;158(1):195-8.
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