Bioflavonoids are water soluble antioxidants from the flavonoid family. They occur as pigments and antioxidants in a variety of plants. Besides their antioxidant effects, bioflavonoids play a crucial role in your health, and there is strong evidence from research that they address certain health conditions.
There are about 4000 flavonoid compounds identified so far, and here are a few of the bioflavonoids and their common sources:
Rutin: Buckwheat, apple, asparagus, mulberries, cranberries
Quercetin: Citrus fruits, sage, tea, apples, onions, blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries
Myricetin: Grapes, sweet potatoes, parsley, broad beans
Apigenin: Parsley, celery, thyme, peppermint
Hesperidin: Tangerine, oranges, grapefruit, lemon, unfiltered orange juice, rind of citrus fruits, cherries
Catechin: Green tea, raspberries, fava beans
Luteolin: Parsley, celery, peppers,olives, rosemary, lemons
Health benefits of bioflavonoids
Like most powerful antioxidants, bioflavonoids boast a long list of health benefits. Bioflavonoids are necessary for every cell in your body to perform at its best. Here, are the most important benefits of this powerful antioxidant.
Heart health: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 25% of the U.S population, live with the effects of heart disease or stroke, making these diseases the first and third causes of deaths each year, respectively. As an intervention therapy the American Heart Association recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for the beneficial vitamins, minerals, fiber and the bounty of antioxidant compounds like bioflavonoids. Many studies show that the antioxidant activity of bioflavonoids in particular was found to lower the risk factors for heart disease (1, 3). Bioflavonoids offer heart protective effects by lowering the oxidative damage to cells and increasing the nitric oxide (NO) levels, which is crucial to maintain the health of arteries (2).
Lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes: There is evidence that consuming bioflavonoids can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis of studies that involved 18,146 cases and 284,806 participants observed the association between flavonoid intake and type 2 diabetes risk. Researchers found that higher intake of flavonoids was associated with lower diabetes risk among subjects. In addition, the analysis also revealed that for a total flavonoid intake of 500 mg per day there was a 5 % diabetes risk reduction (4,6). A 2010 study showed that flavonoid compounds like flavonol, flavan-3-ol, and anthocyanins may help in improving insulin secretion and sensitivity, the two most important components in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels (5).
Wound healing: Bioflavonoids are important for proper absorption of vitamin C, which is crucial for wound healing. Due to this property of bioflavonoids, they are effective as an adjuvant therapy in sports injuries. As an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent, bioflavonoids help in the process of rapid wound healing (7).
Rich food sources of bioflavonoids
If you consume fresh, wholesome foods you are sure to get some bioflavonoids into your body. Here are some quality sources:
Citrus fruits: Bioflavonoids are most commonly found in the citrus family, eating at least one fruit per day gives you two antioxidants – vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Tangerines, lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, fresh squeezed orange juice, rind of citrus fruits.
Berries: Dark colored berries such as blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries. Others like strawberries, cranberries, and cherries are also rich sources.
Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables like brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and others like kale, spinach, parsnips, hot peppers, rutabagas, red and white onion, and spring onions are great daily sources.
Fruits: Tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas, and others like peaches, apples, tomatoes, bananas, pears, cranberries etc are tasty sources of this powerful antioxidant.
Grains and beans : Whole grains like buckwheat, quinoa, and dry beans like fava, pinto, garbanzo, and kidney beans are a great way to include bioflavonoids in the form of soups and salads.
Herbs & spices: Dried and fresh parsley, chives, milk thistle, Rosehip, horsetail, oregano, rosemary and spices like garlic, ginger, paprika, and black pepper are a delicious way to include this antioxidant.
Other foods: Most nuts and seeds, green tea, legumes, cacao, and red wine.
Although it appears that we may be getting enough of this powerful antioxidant, if you are not keeping up with enough servings of fruits and vegetables every day (the recommendation is to consume at least 3- 5 servings of a variety of produce) you may be short on bioflavonoids. Here are some factors that can deplete your bioflavonoid levels in your blood:
Processed/refined food intake
Diet high in refined sugar
Keep in mind, bioflavonoids are not produced by your body and must be obtained through consumption food or supplements. It is important to consume enough of fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain optimal levels of this antioxidant in your blood. Individuals that do not consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, people that are chronically stressed, and those that frequently travel may have higher need for this antioxidant. It is a good idea to consider high quality bioflavonoid supplements to keep up with your body’s demands and to protect from a plethora of adverse health conditions.
If you are exposed to some of the above factors which may deplete your bioflavonoid levels try adding an antioxidant supplement to your diet. OptiHealth Products’ super antioxidant isotonic formula OPCXtra contains 30mg of Citrus Bioflavonoids. Follow this link to learn more about OPCXtra.
Bioflavonoids and Cardiovascular Health: Tea, Red Wine, Cocoa and Pycnogenol® Slayback, DL , Watson RR. Review Article, JANA Vol 9#2 http://enaonline.org/files/artikel/75/Bioflavonoids.pdf
Grass D et.al. Flavonoids: Antioxidants Against Atherosclerosis. Nutrients. 2010 Aug; 2(8): 889–902.
Grassi D, Desideri G, et.al., Flavonoids, vascular function and cardiovascular protection. Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(10):1072-84.
Liu YJ, Zhan J et.al.,Dietary flavonoids intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Clin Nutr. 2014 Feb;33(1):59-63. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2013.03.011. Epub 2013 Mar 26.
Hanhineva K, Torronen R, Bondia-Pons I, Pekkinen J, Kolehmainen M, Mykkanen H, Poutanen K. Impact of dietary polyphenols on carbohydrate metabolism. Int J Mol Sci 2010;11:1365–402.
Wedick NM et.al., Dietary flavonoid intakes and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Apr;95(4):925-33. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.028894. Epub 2012 Feb 22.
Cho JW, Cho SY, Lee SR, Lee KS. Onion extract and quercetin induce matrix metalloproteinase-1 in vitro and in vivo. Int J Mol Med. 2010;25(3):347-352.