Antioxidants, these super-protectors of health, are easily accessible through food. You still need to know where to look. Among the antioxidants, we find the flavonoids which are very important molecules coming from the plant metabolism. They are found in different parts of the plant at the level of fruits, flowers or leaves. There are more than 5000 different flavonoids, these molecules belong to the large family of phenolic compounds.
The most frequent flavonoids are quercetins, isoflavones, anthocyanins or catechins. The main effects of these substances are: antioxidants, veinotonics, anti-inflammatories, protectors (of the vessels), prevention of cancers or rejuvenation of the skin. These antioxidants are recognizable to the naked eye! These are the pigments giving the color to the flowers and in some cases to the leaves. These substances can be yellow (origin of the word flavo), red, blue or purple.
10 foods high in antioxidant flavonoids:
1. Tea. Whether black, green or white, this plant is very rich in flavonoids. It is estimated that up to 30% of tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) contain flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol or catechins. On the other hand, processed tea products (eg cold tea) generally contain much less active ingredients. Coffee is also rich in flavonoids, it contains especially quercetins as well as chlorogenic acid.
2. Olive oil (cold pressed). Olive oil contains a small amount of flavonoids as well as other very beneficial substances for health like monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid). Be careful, olive oil is relatively caloric, to be consumed in moderation.
3. Red fruits. Red fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are particularly rich in quercetin flavonoids. These fruits also contain anthocyanins. All these substances have an antioxidant power that acts on aging and cancer prevention. Studies have also shown that a diet rich in red fruits helps prevent memory problems.
4. Garlic. Garlic rich in flavonoids and sulfur compounds exhibits anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Studies have shown that garlic has a positive effect on LDL (bad cholesterol) as well as certain cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction.
5. Apple. This fruit widely consumed in Europe is rich in vitamins, dietary fiber, minerals and quercetin flavonoids. This molecule reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (such as stroke) and prevents certain cancers such as stomach or colon, lung or liver. The apple also contains catechins.
6. Dark chocolate. Perhaps the best-known food when it comes to flavonoids. Dark chocolate contains in particular catechins, a powerful antioxidant, antiallergic and anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that regular consumption of dark chocolate reduces the onset of certain heart diseases, has a favorable effect on cognitive functions and can even prevent type 2 diabetes. If possible, choose dark chocolate, which is richer in flavonoids than other forms of chocolate (especially white).
7. Grapes and vines. This food or drink is also very well known among the people. Several studies have shown the benefit of flavonoids in wine for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Grapes are rich in catechins and, like dark chocolate, have favorable effects in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. We must also count on resveratrol, a famous polyphenol, found in red wine. It would be given a lot of quality as a prevention of cellular aging, against diabetes or to prevent cancer.
8. Spinach. Spinach and other green vegetables like arugula (rucola in Switzerland) are rich in flavonoids with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Spinach in particular contains carotenoids, pigments with anti-tumor properties and improving vision.
9. Broccoli. This vegetable is rich in flavonoids, which would in particular prevent lung cancer. Another molecule found in broccoli, sulforaphane, would have a favorable effect against osteoarthritis.
10. Onion. This widely consumed vegetable is also rich in flavonoids. The onion also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, in addition to the classic properties of flavonoids mentioned above.
The list of foods or plants rich in flavonoids could be much longer, here are a few more plants containing these substances with powerful antioxidant effects: ginkgo, wormwood (in herbal tea), passionflower, peppermint, artichoke, fenugreek, lime blossom or dead nettle.
One last tip, in general, colored fruits and vegetables are rich in flavonoids, think about it when you do your shopping.