CHARACTERISTICS OF FLAVONOIDS
What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids or bioflavonoids are non-nitrogenous plant pigments.
Some flavonoids give provide the yellow color to some plant parts and the general name of "flavonoid", since flavus in Latin means "yellow". So, the word flavonoid derives from the latin word flavus.. Other ones provide the red color of buds, shoots or leaves in autumn. They are also responsible for the colors of many fruits.
Many varieties of color in the flowers depend on the acidity of the medium. Acidic conditions provides strong red colors; an alkaline medium, blue color and a neutral environment, provides the violet. These variations explain because the same plant, such as hydrangea, color varies according to where it is planted.
What are flavonoids functions in plants?
A very distinctive, for example, is that of bromeliads among which we have Tillandsias or Billbergias. These plants develop flowers on a kind of stem that emerges from a number of rosette leaves. This stem is formed by a series of bracts. These bracts have a strong reddish color before or during pollination and then become more green.
Other times flavonoids have the function to attract prey. The same carnivorous plants such as sundew, uses anthocyanins in their flowers to attract insects which it devours.
Many times the flavonoids are the plant adaptive response to intense ultraviolet radiation. These components protect plants from the harmful effects of these noxious rays.
Other times these components show unpleasant flavors what would constitute an advantage against herbivores that would reject these kind of food.
How many flavonoids are there?
More than 600 flavonoids have been discovered. They all seem to have an important role in human food. They have very interesting medicinal properties.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF FLAVONOIDS
They all seem to have a very important role in human food, since they have interesting medicinal properties.
Flavonoids are found only in plants , so, to obtain these components, we must eat a diet rich in vegetables. Among the main properties of the flavonoids, we can mention the following:
Most of flavonoids, especially catechins of green tea, have a high capacity to neutralize the free radicals and to prevent the pernicious effects these have on the health of our body. Used as supplements, in combination many times with the vitamin C, can be able to neutralize virus like those of herpes.
Many flavonoids have been tremendously effective in the treatment of the cancer. It is known that many inhibit the growth of cancer cells
They have a tonic effect on the heart, strengthening the heart muscle and improving circulation. Mainly attributed to the flavonoid quercetin, although it appears less intense in others, such as genistein and luteolin.
They improve the strength of capillaries, so they prevent them to break, preventing bleeding. Among all the flavonoids, hesperidin, rutin and quercetin should be mentioned in order of importance
Protection of the liver
Some flavonoids have demonstrated their protective power against liver diseases. Silymarin from milk thistle has been tested experimentally as a protective and regenerative for the liver in hepatitis.
The same flavonoid, together with apigenin and quercetin, are very useful to eliminate certain digestive ailments related to the liver, like the feeling of fullness or vomits.
Protection of the stomach
Certain flavonoids, including quercetin, rutin and kaempferol have properties, anti-ulcer properties which can be useful to protect the gastric mucosa or inner linnen of the stomach.
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic
Most of these principles have proven to have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial.
Where to find flavonoids?
Most of flavonoids in fruits are found in the skin, reason why it is better to eat them without peeling them, once we have washed them properly.
Types of flavonoids
The most important flavonoids would be the following:
More information on components of the medicinal plants in the listing above.
Other interesting articles
This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.