Flavonoids are found in virtually all plants and are partly responsible for many of their brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. In nature their role is to help heal wounds in the plant as well as protecting against pests and diseases. In the body they help protect blood vessels from rupture or leakage, prevent excessive inflammation and act as antibiotics by disrupting the function of viruses or bacteria. Studies show that eating flavonoid-rich fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of chronic illnesses such as cancer, strokes, asthma and coronary heart disease.
Most of the health benefits from flavonoids come from the fact that they act as antioxidants in the human body, neutralising free radicals that destroy and mutate cells, which then leads to premature ageing, cancer and many other diseases. They work in a similar fashion to antioxidant vitamin E by being free radical chain-breakers, stopping the chain reaction after it has already begun. While flavonoids protect cells in many ways, one of their more potent effects is to that they increase the effectiveness of super antioxidants glutathione and vitamin C.
Flavonoids are known to stop red blood cells sticking together, helping the blood circulate oxygen more freely. They also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and prevent hardening of the arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease.