NUTRIENTS A-Z: Vitamin P - Bioflavanoids

Janice Buckler | | Return|

Vitamin P is another name for “flavonoids” and are found naturally in many fruits and vegetables. They are a large class of plant compounds found in deeply colored fruits, vegetables, cocoa, tea, and wine.  They are rich in antioxidants which helps your body ward off toxins. Adding more flavonoids to your diet is a great way to help your body stay healthy and potentially decrease your risk of developing some chronic health conditions.

Inflammation is one of your body’s immune responses.  This can happen when you are exposed to allergens, germs, toxins, and other irritants.  It can trigger inflammation which can result in uncomfortable symptoms. Flavonoids may help your body dismiss that inflammatory reaction and reduce those symptoms.

Your body produces antioxidants naturally, but there are six different types of flavonoids found in food, and each type is metabolized differently. 

Flavanols: These types of flavonoids are known for their antioxidant properties and may help manage symptoms of cardiovascular disease:

  • onions
  • kale
  • grapes and red wine
  • tea
  • peaches
  • berries
  • tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • scallions
  • broccoli

Flavan-3-ols:  Foods with these types of flavonoids are very rich in nutrients and include:

  • white tea
  • green tea
  • oolong tea
  • black tea
  • apples
  • purple and red grapes
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • cocoa and chocolate products

Flavones:  Flavones are the pigments in blue and white flowering plants.  They also work as a natural pesticide, protecting leaves from harmful insects and may help with inflammation in the body:  

  • parsley
  • red peppers
  • celery
  • chamomile
  • peppermint

Flavanones:  Flavanones are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They may also help you manage your weight and cholesterol. Flavanones are found in these foods:

  • lemons
  • limes
  • oranges
  • grapefruit

Isoflavones:  Isoflavones may help keep hormones balanced in your body and are mainly found in soy, soy products, and other legumes such as fava beans.  

Anthocyanins:  Anthocyanins are naturally produced pigments that give flowers their red, purple, and blue color. They are predominantly found in the outer skin of berries and berry products like:

  • red and purple grapes
  • red wine
  • cranberries
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • blackberries

At least five subtypes of flavonoids have demonstrated to have an effect on lowering high blood pressure.  Also, the flavonoids found in tea, coffee, and soy may help lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.  A diet high in flavonoids may also decrease your risk of type II diabetes. However, more research is needed to prove the efficacy of flavonoids as blood sugar regulators.

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of flavonoids have also encouraged researchers to study their potential as anticancer drugs. Research has shown that certain flavonoids may help stop cancer cells from multiplying, but more studies are needed to confirm whether flavonoids can be used as an effective cancer therapy.


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