When you are looking for ways to pump up the health quotient in your daily diet, do not forget to add your daily dose of flavonoids. These powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories offer a host of benefits for every portion of your body, including your veins. Canada Vein Clinics have the lowdown on the importance of these phytonutrients and the myriad of healthy benefits they offer.
What are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids are nutrients found in nearly all fruits and vegetables, as well as a selection of beans and spices. In addition to providing health benefits, flavonoids contribute to the vibrant colors of many of the fresh foods we eat. There are more than 6,000 types of flavonoids known today, making this the largest group of phytonutrients. Recently, scientists have been linking many of the known health benefits of fruits and vegetables to their flavonoid content.
There are numerous potential health benefits of flavonoids:
Antioxidants protect the body from free radical damage. Free radicals are elements in the environment that lead to the progression of disease and the signs of aging. Free radicals can be found in pollution, the UV rays of the sun and cigarette smoke, among other sources. When your body takes in antioxidants, the free radicals are bound so they cannot do as much damage.
Inflammation is the natural process of the body to protect itself from bacteria and viruses. However, inflammation can also occur when there are no foreign bodies to fight, which can lead to painful conditions like arthritis and the formation of varicose veins. Anti-inflammatory agents reduce inflammation, allowing your body to both look and feel healthier.
Some flavonoids strengthen the walls of blood vessels throughout the body, leading to a healthier cardiovascular system overall. This is particularly beneficial to varicose vein sufferers, since inflammation and weakened vessels often contribute to the appearance of varicose veins.
Flavonoids also protect the nervous system from free radical damage, which may in turn lower the risk for some neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Early studies also suggest regular consumption of flavonoids may improve cognitive function.
Flavonoids may also play a role in weight management, due to their effect on the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. Studies on mice have shown that changes in leptin levels may lead to weight gain and obesity, which can also lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Weight gain may also increase your risk for varicose veins.
Categories of Flavonoids
Flavonoids can be broken down into six basic groups:
Flavones – These flavonoids offer many antioxidant benefits and may delay the metabolization of some medications. The best known flavones are apigenin and luteolin.
Flavanones – This group of flavonoids is associated with a variety of benefits, including cardiovascular health. Flavanones also offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support. Common flavanones include hesperetin and naringenin.
Anthocyanidins – In addition to their antioxidant effects, anthocyanidins are known for their contribution to heart health and prevention of diabetes and obesity. Anthocyanidins include cyanidin and malvidin.
Isoflavones – These flavonoids mimic the hormone estrogen, which may be beneficial in lowering the risk for breast, endometrial and prostate cancers. These nutrients are also under study currently for potential benefits during menopause. Common isoflavones include daidzein and genistein.
Flavonols – This category of flavonoids has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could actually prevent some chronic diseases. One flavonol, quercetin, is also an effective antihistamine used to treat hives and hay fever.
Flavanols – Catechins, powerful antioxidants found in green tea, belong to this group of flavonoids. Catechins may contribute to neurological and cardiovascular benefits and may help relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Other flavanols include dimers and polymers.
Where to Find Them
Flavonoids are abundant in many of our foods, giving you ample opportunity to take full advantage of their healthy advantages. A good rule of thumb is the more colorful the food, the more flavonoids they offer. For example, the vibrant blue hue of blueberries or rich red color found in strawberries and cherries means a potent amount of flavonoids are present. However, there are other foods beyond these bright selections that will give you a healthy boost of these nutrients as well:
- Herbs like parsley, mint and dill
- Some beans, including garbanzo and black beans
- Green and black teas
- Chili peppers
- Onions, celery and leeks
- Cocoa and dark chocolate
- Red wine
Say Goodbye to Spider and Varicose Veins
Flavonoids may offer a bevy of benefits in preventing or managing varicose veins, due to their ability to strengthen blood vessels and prevent inflammation. However, these nutrients will not be able to reverse veins that have already become varicose. The good news is there are numerous minimally-invasive treatments for varicose veins today that can effectively eradicate those swollen vessels without putting a major crimp in your daily routine.
If you are suffering the pain and embarrassment of unsightly varicose veins, help is available. To find out about your treatment options, contact Canada Vein Clinics at 1-888-876-8346.