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Studies have shown flavonoids are important in improving both physical and mental health, but what exactly do they do?
What are they?
Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds with potent antioxidant powers. They are found in plants and have been implicated as protective agents in multiple conditions.
Cocoa, red wine, grapes and tea are common foods with high flavonoid concentrations.
A vital antioxidant
Flavonoids contain antioxidants, which are important in protecting the body's cells from free radicals, such as cigarette smoke and environmental contaminants. Free radicals can lead to bad cholesterol and increased heart disease risk, among other things.
The antioxidant properties of flavonoids also make them key in the fight against ageing. The compounds protect the skin, keeping it looking fresh and youthful. Pomegranate Seed Oil is one of the great natural beauty products with flavonoids that can give skin a boost.
An anti-inflammatory agent
Certain types of flavonoids, such as cocoa and chocolate, contain flavonols, which are believed to hold anti-inflammatory properties that target arteries.
This stops plaque build up, reducing heart disease risk and the hardening of arteries. It is also believed that by reducing inflammation, flavonols can improve brain blood flow, decreasing stroke threat.
A brain boost
Flavonols are thought to hold benefits for people with mild cognitive impairment, acting on the brain to protect neurons from injury.
Furthermore, researchers suspect flavonoids can improve metabolisms and enhance interaction with molecular structures responsible for memory.
A recent study identified cocoa as being a particular potent source of flavonoids for cognitive improvement in older adults.
They observed that those who consumed the compounds exhibited an improvement in their ability to relate visual stimuli to motor responses, working memory, task switching and verbal memory.
It was also identified that flavonoids from cocoa decreased insulin resistance, blood pressure and oxidative stress.
Posted by Freya Harper