What Are Bioflavonoids?So what are these compounds exactly? Specifically, bioflavonoids are a class of phytochemicals that occur naturally in most fruits, vegetables and herbs. You can also find them in tea, wine and chocolate, as well as some beans and seeds. As a general rule, the more colorful a fruit or vegetable is, the more flavonoids it contains.
Benefits of Bioflavonoids
1. Improve Cardiovascular HealthSo how do these phytonutrients help the body? For starters, they can improve cardiovascular health. Researchers in both Europe and the United States examined the relationship between dietary flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease. They found that higher intakes of each flavonoid subclass were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular problems. (1)
2. Reduce Varicose VeinsBenefits of bioflavonoids include the ability to reduce varicose veins. Up to 60% of women, as well as men, suffer from varicose veins. One type of flavonoid in particular, called rutin, works to support the walls of the veins. Studies have shown that rutin can help relieve swelling and pain caused by varicose veins. To get your daily dose of rutin, add citrus fruits, buckwheat, and asparagus to your diet. (2)
3. Treat HemorrhoidsBenefits of bioflavonoids include the ability to naturally treat hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can cause severe discomfort and pain. Research has shown that these compounds can help prevent and heal hemorrhoids. Additionally, their benefits include the ability to improve mircocirculation, vascular tone, and capillary flow, all of which can help treat hemorrhoids. (3)
4. Treat HepatitisInflammation of the liver creates many problems, as the liver is critical for digestion and detoxification. In fact, studies have shown that bioflavonoids may help treat hepatitis. Specifically, catechin, a flavonoid found in matcha green tea, has been shown to help patients suffering from acute viral hepatitis and chronic hepatitis. (4)
5. Heal BruisesFor people who bruise easily, bioflavonoids may be especially beneficial. Benefits of these phytonutrients include the ability to strengthen the capillaries, which can help with healing bruises. Citrus flavonoids can also help increase the effectiveness of Vitamin C in the body, which works to strengthen the immune system. (5)
6. Heal Cold SoresStudies have shown that these phytonutrients, when combined with Vitamin C, can help speed the healing of cold sores. In a study published in Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, and Oral Pathology, researchers found that patients with herpes infections who received a combination of Vitamin C and water-soluble flavonoids had a less severe outbreak and healed more quickly than those taking a placebo, and with no side effects. (6)
7. Fight AllergiesQuercetin is an amazing flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables. For example, onions, citrus fruits, pineapple, and buckwheat all contain good levels of quercetin. It works as a natural antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory. In fact, quercetin, in particular, may help to naturally treat symptoms of both food allergies and seasonal allergies. Do you have any of these allergy symptoms: cough, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, or indigestion? Well, according to research published in the Iran Journal of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, quercetin can help fight allergy symptoms just as well as some prescription medications, with little to no side effects. (7)
8. Reduce HypertensionWhen it comes to heart health, what are bioflavonoids good for? Just as they support cardiovascular health, bioflavonoids also help reduce hypertension. Studies have shown that fruit, vegetable, tea, and wine consumption can help protect against stroke. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, certain flavonoids, including anthocyanins, can help prevent high blood pressure, which is the major risk factor for a stroke. Foods that contain anthocyanins include berries, cherries, red wine, plums, red cabbage, and purple asparagus. (8)
Top Sources of BioflavonoidsThe best way to get your daily intake of bioflavonoids is by consuming plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs each day. Consuming chocolate, tea and wine in moderation can also help give you a bioflavonoid boost, along with certain nuts, beans and seeds.
- Fresh Fruit: Citrus fruits, berries and tree fruits are packed with bioflavonoids. Add strawberries, grapes, apples, cranberries and blackberries to your diet. Lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and grapefruits are some of the best citrus fruits to increase your bioflavonoid intake. Apples, peaches and plums are also on the list!
- Fresh Vegetables: Any and all vegetables can help fill your body with beneficial bioflavonoids, especially red and green ones. Think broccoli, kale, onions, red peppers, rutabaga, spinach and watercress. Red and green onions are high in quercetin. For flavones, try artichokes and celery, and for flavonols, choose okra and broccoli.
- Herbs and Spices: Use fresh herbs and spices in your cooking for an extra dose of bioflavonoids. Think oregano, parsley, peppermint, thyme and cinnamon.
- Tea: Black tea, green tea and rooibos tea are known to contain the highest amount of catechins and flavonols.
- Chocolate: Pure cocoa contains beneficial flavanols. Look for organic, dark chocolate and eat in moderation.
- Wine: Red and white wine both contain flavonoids. Red wine, however, contains higher levels. Drink in moderation, and choose red wine over white.
- Nuts, Beans and Seeds: Soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans and fava beans are all rich in bioflavonoids. When it comes to nuts, try pecans, walnuts, pistachios and cashews. Gluten-free buckwheat is also high in bioflavonoids, particularly quercetin and rutin.