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Flavonoids – Mother Nature’s Antioxidants

When Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food,” he probably did not have nutritional supplements in mind, but we think he may have approved of modern nutritional supplementation. Fruits, vegetables, and other plants like herbs are vital parts of any healthy diet. They are full of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed by the body including Mother Natures’ most powerful antioxidants – flavonoids. Flavonoids are the largest category of nutrients contained in plants. Over 6000 flavonoids have been categorized and identified, and they are some of the ingredients that make certain fruits and vegetables so healthy. Most flavonoids are antioxidants, and many of them offer anti-inflammatory benefits. They are the compounds that make your dinner plate look colorful and delicious, because flavonoids are the components in plants that give fruits and vegetables their bright, alluring colors. With so many different flavonoids, it would be impossible to write about all of them, but here are two of the top antioxidant flavonoids that can contribute to your health:
  • Quercetin
  • Anthocyanidins

Quercetin

An apple a day has been part of our vernacular for centuries and apples contain an ingredient called quercetin that could be the scientific basis for this belief. Quercetin is a flavonoid found in apples, onions, and various other fruits like grapes and olives. It is also found abundantly in olive oil, which may account for some of the health benefits associated with this Mediterranean delight. Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals in the body, thereby protecting the body from cellular and DNA damage. Free radicals are one of the most important underlying causes of damage to the body, and free radical damage has been linked to premature aging, skin damage, and even DNA damage, which could lead to diseases like cancer. Quercetin has also been found to help regulate, and, in some cases, reduce blood pressure. In a study done on patients suffering from high blood pressure, quercetin reduced blood pressure in stage 1 hypertensive patients. Other possible health benefits of quercetin include anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Although most studies are done on large amounts of quercetin, adding liberal amounts of foods that contain quercetin can help to support your health. If you are looking for higher doses of quercetin, then you should first consult your physician. Quercetin can interact with antibiotics, anticoagulants, chemotherapy drugs, and various other medications. The Quercetin Plus supplement by Prescribed Choice provides you with a combination of vitamin C and 1 mg of quercetin, should your physician suggest a quercetin supplement.

Anthocyanidins

Anthocyanidins, like quercetin, give many of the fruits and vegetables we consider healthy their unique colorful appearance. Anthocyanidins are found in the berries, stems, and leaves of many of these plants, where they protect these parts of the plant from the damage caused by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Anthocyanidins are powerful antioxidants that do not only protect the plants from the sun, but have also been shown to play an active role in protecting our skin. These compounds have been linked to the collagen in the skin, as well. Anthocyanidins are being tested for being beneficial for varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and various other conditions. Antioxidants also play a key role in preventing or reducing inflammation in the body. When free radicals damage the body, low grade inflammation is the first process to occur at the site of the damage. Inflammation is the first step in the healing process. If you have a large amount of free radicals in your body, low grade inflammation occurs continuously, leading to diseases like cancer, atherosclerosis, and arthritis. Reducing the number of free radicals in your system consequently reduces the inflammation that occurs. If you want to add Anthocyanidins to your daily diet, then adding a handful of dark colored berries may be just what you need. Blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, and blackberries are all excellent sources of Anthocyanidins.

Other Vitamins and Flavonoids

Flavonoids are not the only powerful antioxidants contained in plants. Many of the essential vitamins and minerals we need also double as antioxidants in the body. Vitamin E, vitamin C, and minerals like selenium and zinc also play vital roles in protecting the body from free radical damage. A supplement that contains a top quality combination of bioflavonoids and vitamins, like the Quercetin Bioflavonoid Complex by Natural Factors, can help you to ensure your body always has sufficient quantities of the compounds that can protect you from free radical damage.

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