Role of flavonoids in health


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Role of flavonoids
in health

Sources of



Links between flavonoids and some diseases:

  Cancer and
    and flavonoids
   diseases and

   and flavonoids




Flavonoid intake from vegetables, fruit, berries and beverages has been favorably linked with reduced risks of a number of diseases in large population studies. One possible mechanism behind the health effects of flavonoids is their antioxidant effects.

Antioxidants can be called as a natural defence mechanism in living organisms. Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. One antioxidant molecule can only react with a single free radical, and therefore there is a constant need to replenish antioxidant resources. 

Flavonoids are one group of compounds which have antioxidant effects. Other natural antioxidants in foods are e.g. vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotenoids, Selenium copper, manganese and zinc are important for the body’s  antioxidant enzymes. 

Harmful free radicals are generated in the body during normal metabolism. Exposure to environmental insults such as infectious agents, pollution, UV light, cigarette smoke and radiation, have shown to increase free radical formation. When harmful free radicals are not neutralised by the body's anti-oxidative defence system, an excess of harmful radicals exists and damage can occur. Imbalance may also be due to insufficient intake of antioxidants from the diet. Oxidative stress is a general term used to describe a state of damage caused for example by free radicals. It is generally accepted that oxidative stress  plays a role in the occurrence of degeneratieve diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. 

An abundant intake of antioxidants from the diet may help the body to protect against harmful effects of pollution, UV light, cigarette smoke and radiation caused by free radicals. In practice a diet rich in fruit, berries and vegetables is recommended.

To read about the effect of flavonoid intake on risks of some chronic diseases, click the links on the left side of this page..

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