Cardiovascular Health

The stimulus for much of the research on the role of flavonoids in human health was derived from epidemiological studies, particularly a study suggesting that dietary flavonoids may protect against cardiovascular disease. During the past decade, a significant amount of research has examined the effect of flavonoids in foods and pure flavonoid compounds at various stages in the atherosclerosis process.

A significant proportion of the research on flavo-noids has concentrated on their antioxidant actions, and their capacity to act as antioxidants remains their best described biological property to date. Their antioxidant ability is well established in vitro, and in vivo animal data also suggest that consumption of compounds such as rutin or red wine extracts, tea, or fruit juice lowers oxidative products such as protein carbonyls, DNA damage markers, and malonaldehyde levels in blood and a range of tissues.

The flavones and catechins appear to be the most powerful flavonoids at protecting the body against reactive oxygen species. Although the mechanisms and sequence of events by which free radicals interfere with cellular functions are not fully understood, one of the most important events may be lipid peroxidation, which results in cellular damage. Flavo-noids may prevent such cellular damage by several different mechanisms, including direct scavenging of free radicals such as superoxides and peroxynitrite, inhibition of nitric oxide, or antiinflammatory effects.

Your Heart and Nutrition

Your Heart and Nutrition

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