It can boost the immune system, combat diabetes, prevent heart diseases and even cancer, yet you’ve probably never heard about it. How come? Well, that’s because it’s not an actual vitamin, but rather a term coined to describe a wide number of natural compounds (more than 5,000).
Better known as flavonoids, these phytonutrients can be found in most fruit and vegetables, and are often responsible for plant pigmentation, typically yellow, red and blue shades. They are the ones generating many of the smells and flavors greens have, and also protecting them from invaders such as fungi, pests.
Citrus fruit, for example, lemons and oranges, are a particularly great source of flavonoids, namely flavanones. These improve circulation, lower blood pressure and also lower cholesterol levels. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that flavanones can reduce the risk of stroke by almost 30%.
Many of the berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, contain anthocyanin, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This type of flavonoid has been associated with improved cardiovascular risk, according to a 2010 report.
Both green and black tea provide high amounts of catechins. They detoxify cell-damaging free radicals from the body, lower cholesterol and prevent heart problems. Hot chocolate lovers benefit from the same effects, as cocoa offers similar doses of catechins.
Other flavonoid packed sources that you should consider including in your daily diet are apples, kale, asparagus, beans, onions, tomatoes, and most whole grains.
Nature always takes care of our wellbeing and supplies us with all sorts of helpful biochemicals to keep us safe and healthy.