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Potential Health Benefits Of Flavonoids In Foods

2174 words - 9 pages

Introduction
Flavonoids are found in many foods and beverages that are consumed regularly throughout the world. They are pigments found in plants and are a product of the metabolism of the plants (Liu, 2013). Flavonoids can be found in many fruits and vegetables as well as tea, coffee and red wine (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). The flavonoids protect the plant and give it color (Liu, 2013). Many studies are finding flavonoid consumption to be beneficial to human health as well. Research has found flavonoids can delay the onset or even prevent some cancers, cardiovascular disease as well as some neurodegenerative diseases (Huntley, 2009). Flavonoids can also be beneficial in the defense of other diseases (Sinijia & Mishra, 2008).
What are Flavonoids and Where are They Found
As plants grow and develop they create byproducts. One of the products produced during plant metabolism is flavonoids. Flavonoids are a subgroup of a much larger category of phytochemicals (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). The largest group of phytochemicals is considered to be polyphenol and flavonoids are a part of this group (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). Flavonoids are grouped together into different types depending on their molecular structure (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012).
In the typical American diet, six specific flavonoids are found; flavonols, flavanonones, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavones and isoflavones (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). There are many sources for each of the specific flavonoids and sources contain more than one type. Flavonols are found in onions, kale, leeks, blueberries, red wine and tea (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). Common sources for flavanonones include tomatoes, peppermint, and citrus foods (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). Berries, red wine, leafy green vegetables as well as root vegetables and whole grain cereals are sources for anthocyanins (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). Flavan-3-ols are typically found in red wine, tea, especially green tea, and dark chocolate (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). Leafy green vegatables and spices such as sage, marjoram, thyme and oregano are sources of flavones (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). A small amount of isoflavones can be found in black beans, white beans and peanuts (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). Isoflavones is also found in soy products (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). The amount of flavonoids in the foods can vary from food to food, even the same food can contain varying amounts of flavonoids (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). Factors that can influence flavonoid amount include; genotype, environment, sun exposure, amount of rain and soil, how they are harvested, storage as well as the way they are prepared (Corcoran, McKay & Blumberg, 2012). For example, green beans lose a lot of the flavonoid content when boiled and the amount in onions goes down during the time they are stored between being harvested and eaten...

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