What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids are natural products commonly found in vegetables, fruits, plants, bark, flowers, wine and tea such as palo azul.
These are some of the most flavonoid-rich foods: apples, pears, onions, strawberries, blueberries, celery, peppers, and teas such as palo azul
What makes flavonoids so special?
There are hundreds of studies that have found numerous health benefits in flavonoids and these are are attributed to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic, anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic properties.
For example, numerous epidemiological (population) studies show an “inverse correlation between dietary flavonoid consumption and chronic degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers.”
According to a medical review, flavonoids’ powerful health benefits have made them “an indispensable component in a variety of nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications.”
Here we’ve summarized the most important health benefits we found:
1.) They lower cholesterol and blood pressure
2.) They help you burn abdominal fat
3.) Promote skin health
4.) Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, erectile dysfunction, arthritis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, and dementia
5.) They are antibacterial and antiviral
We know….this might be the healthiest compound on planet Earth!
This is why we should be eating vegetables, fruits and drinking palo azul tea everyday! (or wine occasionally)
How can flavonoids help you?
Lower your cholesterol
One study done on flavonoids concluded that “flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”
Another study found that the antioxidant property of flavonoids " inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.”
Finally, another study concluded that: “Palo azul (EP) reduced the blood glucose, increased serum insulin, body weight, marker enzymes of hepatic function, glycogen, HDL, GK and HK while there was reduction in the levels of triglyceride, cholesterol.”
They help you lose weight
One study analyzed 2754 twins and found that the group that consumed the most flavonoids:
- Had less percentage of fat
- Burned more fat in the abdomen
Specifically, the researchers found that the twins with the highest consumption of flavonoid-rich foods (onions, tea, apples, pears, and cocoa) “had a 3-9% lower FMR (fat mass ratio) than that of their co-twins.”
Moreover, the researchers found that the “women who ate a lot of flavonoid-rich foods had a lower percentage of body fat than women who ate less. The amount of abdominal fat also differed significantly between the two groups.”
The researchers of this study also point out that “It is important to note that abdominal fat is an important risk factor for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart problems.”
Another study looked at 124,000 people and found that "flavonoids increase energy expenditure, decrease fat absorption and function as anti-inflammatories. The researchers in this same study found that "increased consumption of most flavonoid subclasses was associated with reduced weight gain.”
They also mentioned that the participants that consumed more flavonoids maintained their weight better and even lost some weight and they concluded the following:
"Our results suggest that choosing fruits and vegetables that are high in flavonoids, such as apples, pears, berries and peppers, can help with weight control."
They promote skin health
Victoria Lewis, a doctor of dermatology mentions that “antioxidants are often considered the fountain of youth by skin-care professionals and experts.”
“Not only do they (antioxidants) scavenge free radicals—the number one skin-aging culprits—to promote a brighter, more even complexion, they’re also the superstars at nixing fine lines and keeping skin looking fresh.”
This is due to its ability to eliminate oxidative stress and free radicals, which are “the number one skin-aging culprits.”
This oxidative stress causes damage to our cells, and this damage eventually leads to aging and wrinkles in our skin.
Another doctor of dermatology, Dr. Mack, writes that “antioxidants protect your skin from this (oxidative stress) and help reduce pigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles.” He goes on to mention that in his opinion, “an antioxidant serum is a must for your skin-care routine.”
For this reason, many pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies supplement their skin care products with tea extracts!
They "decrease cancer promoting action"
We read two medical reviews composed of findings from 327 studies done specifically on flavonoids, and found that oxidative stress can lead to cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and aging ... For this reason, they found that antioxidants show potential to fight these diseases.
Therefore, diets rich in antioxidants decrease the cancer-promoting action of free radicals and oxidative stress. One of the studies we reviewed found that fruits and vegetables that have flavonoids have been reported as cancer chemopreventive agents and are inversely associated with cancer incidence.
*Here’s a very interesting fact for wine drinkers: “Moderate wine drinkers also seem to have a lower risk to develop cancer of the lung, endometrium, esophagus, stomach, and colon.”
Thank you flavonoids!
We also read a study that recruited 1522 breast cancer cases and 1547 frequency control subjects from June 2007 to July 2018 in Guangdong, China. The results of this study indicated that consumption of “flavonoids and most flavonoid subclasses intakes were inversely associated with breast cancer risk.”
Finally, “the critical relationship of fruit and vegetable intake and cancer prevention has been thoroughly documented. It has been suggested that major public health benefits could be achieved by substantially increasing consumption of these foods.”
In other words... oxidation in our body leads to cancer and other diseases, therefore we should consume lots of antioxidants to stay healthy.
Reduce risk of diabetes
Numerous epidemiological studies show an “inverse correlation between dietary flavonoid consumption and chronic degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers.”
One study concludes the following: “Oxidative stress may lead to cellular damage which is related to various health ailments such as diabetes, cancer, CVD, neurodegenerative disorders and ageing. Antioxidants interfere with radical-producing systems and increase the function of endogenous antioxidants, protecting the cells from damage by these free radicals.”
Another study mentions that “flavonoids have a role in the treatment of diabetes by virtue of their ability to protect against hyperglycemic and alloxan-induced oxidative stress in experimental animal models.”
Lastly, in a large cohort of women, a clinical trial has shown that "flavonoids are protective against type 2 diabetes.”
Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
Epidemiological, clinical and animal studies reveal that “flavonoids may exert protective effects against various disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
Other population studies have demonstrated that “flavonoid intake is inversely correlated with mortality from cardiovascular disease.”
Researchers also found that flavonoids may “lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”
Finally, a study concluded the following:
"Antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, and hypolipidemic properties play a significant role in the lower cardiovascular mortality illustrated by increased flavonoid consumption.”
Reduce risk of atherosclerosis
Various epidemiological studies show that “flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”
This is due to its ability to "inhibit the oxidation of LDL through a mechanism involving the elimination of free radicals that plays a key role during atherosclerosis.”
One study established the importance of the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by writing that “oxidative modification of LDL cholesterol is thought to play a key role during atherosclerosis.”
Reduce your risk of Hypertension
We’ve read two medical reviews composed of findings from 327 different studies conducted specifically on flavonoids, and their findings revealed that "dietary flavonoids are associated with a lower risk of hypertension and CVD (cardiovascular disease).”
The scientists who published these reviews also observed that “the blood pressure level was reduced in patients with hypertension” after greater consumption of flavonoids.
Finally, one study concluded the following:
“Flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”
Reduce your risk of Alzheimer, Parkinson, or Dementia
One study analyzed a group of 49,281 men and 80,336 women in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and found that “the participants in the highest quintile of total flavonoids had a 40% lower PD (Parkinson’s Disease) risk than those in the lowest quintile.” The researchers from this study concluded the following:
“Our findings suggest that intake of some flavonoids may reduce PD (Parkinson's Disease) risk”
Another study found that flavonoids have “favourable biochemical and antioxidant effects associated with various diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease (AD), atherosclerosis, etc.”
FInally, a study concluded the following:
“Flavonoids contained in berries may have a positive effect against Parkinson's disease and may help to improve memory in elderly people. Intake of antioxidant flavonoids has been inversely related to the risk of incidence of dementia.”
Reduce risk of erectile dysfunction
Results from one study "showed that “flavonoid consumption 50 mg/day reduced the risk of erectile dysfunction by 32%.”
Another study found similarly that "flavonoid-rich foods are associated with a reduced incidence of erectile dysfunction.”
Additionally, one study found that "men with erectile dysfunction reported a lower monthly average of total flavonoid intake."
Due to the antioxidant capacity of flavonoids, another study concludes that flavonoids "may ameliorate erectile dysfunction by inhibiting oxidative stress."
Protect against bacteria and E.coli
A medical review that analyzed the results of 161 studies mentioned that flavonoids proved to be potent antimicrobial and viral inhibitors.
Therefore, they are found to be effective against many infectious diseases (bacterial and viral) such as E. coli.
* Here is an interesting finding!
“Flavonoids are known to be synthesized by plants in response to microbial infection; thus it should not be surprising that they have been found in vitro to be effective antimicrobial substances against a wide array of microorganisms.” It’s due to their potent antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral activity that flavonoids “show inhibitory activity against E. coli."
“Flavonoids have also been recognised for their antimicrobial activity and many researchers have isolated and identified the structures of flavonoids having properties of antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial activity. Because of this property, many flavonoids are now being used extensively in the fields of nutrition, food safety and health.”
Protect against viruses
Another medical review which reviewed 166 studies mentions the following about flavonoids:
"It is due to their potent antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral activity that flavonoids show inhibitory activity against E. coli."
This same medical review also found that “many flavonoids show activity against several types of virus including HSV, respiratory syncytial virus, polio virus and Sindbis virus .”
One study mentioned that flavonoids “are an important source for the discovery and the development of novel antiviral drugs.”
What types of viruses can flavonoids block?
Recently, we found a study published in 2020 which found that “flavonoids block attachment and entry of viruses into cells, interfere with various stages of viral replication processes or translation and polyprotein processing to prevent the release of the viruses to infect other cells.”
The researchers mention that “flavonoids are natural biomolecules that are known to be effective antivirals” and that “these biomolecules can act at different stages of viral infection, particularly at the molecular level to inhibit viral growth.” They found that flavovonoids have inhibitory effects against Ebola, herpes, HIV, Influenza and coronaviruses.
Lastly, the researchers mention that due to flavonoids’ ability to target various stages of viral infection, they are “becoming a more focused topic to explore their potential as antivirals in the current era.”
For all these reasons, flavonoids are used to develop new antiviral drugs.
Reduce joint pain
One study found a very surprising fact: “study found that flavonoids (found in vegetables, fruits and teas like palo azul) “have the most potential of dietary components for promotion of bone health beyond calcium and vitamin D.”
This finding is supported by population studies which have shown “flavonoid consumption to have a stronger association with bone than general fruit and vegetable consumption.”
Alleviate abdominal pain, nausea, digestive issues and loss of appetite
A medical review showed the efficacy of flavonoids “in the treatment of hepatobiliary dysfunction and digestive complaints, such as sensation of fullness, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal pain.”
Loss of appetite is also commonly attributed to bacteria and viruses, and many studies have demonstrated the potent antibacterial and antiviral activity of Palo Azul and its flavonoids.
* Palo Azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce