As a registered dietitian, I love Recommending nutritious foods that promote health and keep diseases at bay. That is when foods rich in flavonoids come to mind. This substance, partly responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables, has been found to be important for our wellbeing.
Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients, natural chemicals, that posses powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies suggest that these compounds have beneficial effects on our health due to their free-radical-fighting or antioxidant potential
Research is also showing flavonoids to have versatile health benefits. For instance, they may prevent heart diseases and some types of cancers. Some of the key flavonoids are flavonols, isoflavones, anthocyanins and catechins. Foods rich in flavonoids are enticing and simple to include everyday!
Here are some tips to increase their intake:
- Bring more color in your life: Start your day by eating fruits and veggies; have at least 5 servings of them a day, especially deep purples, bold blues and rich reds. For breakfast, have oranges, tomatoes and pink grapefruit. Enjoy some blueberries, red and purple grapes for dessert or snack. Remember, most flavonoids are colored, so look for the brightest.
- Make time for tea: choose specially the black and green types since they are richer in catechins. Both varieties of tea have been found to have the greatest amount of flavonoids. Mix some additional ingredients to your teas for variety and extra nutrients such as: orange or lemon peel, berries or apple juice.
- Spice up your day: A simple way to increase your flavonoids is by using herbs and spices when cooking. Use more hot peppers, parsley and thyme; rich in flavones in addition to yellow onions and scallions.
- Boost your intake of isoflavones: Beans, peas, lentils and soybeans are not only loaded with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins but are also a good source isoflavones. Start the day with 8 oz glass of soymilk at breakfast, 1 cup of beans at lunch and ¼ cup of hummus for snack.
The best way to ensure sufficient flavonoids in your diet is to include a variety of deep colored fruits and vegetables, tea, and legumes. These foods will supply your dietary flavonoids and countless nutrients.