According to recent research by a leading diabetes charity, a flavonoid-rich diet, such as yellow, orange and red coloured fruits and vegetables, or rich, leafy greens.
Diabetes UK and the University of East Anglia spent 12 months investigating the link between flavonoids and type 2 diabetes and asked 93 female volunteers to eat flavonoid-enriched chocolate. Half of the women were given a placebo.
Researchers discovered that those who ate the flavonoid-enriched chocolate reduced their risks of a heart attack or disease by up to 3.4%. They also significantly slashed their risks of a strokes, resistance to insulin and cholesterol levels, too.
Although the results reduced many health risks in women with type 2 diabetes, researchers stressed that these findings aren’t encouraging women to eat more chocolate bars. The bars used in the study were specially formulated to provide a high dose of two flavonoid sub-classes (flavin-3-ols and isoflavones) and aren’t commercially available.
"These results are significant from a public health perspective because they provide further concrete evidence that diet has a beneficial clinical effect over and above conventional drug treatment," says Professor Aedin Cassidy from the study.
Dr Iain Frame, from Diabetes UK, added: “This trial assessed the effects of flavonoids on the risk of heart disease in post-menopausal women with type 2 diabetes over a period of one year.
“Although it involved quite a small number of women already at high risk of heart disease, these compounds appeared to offer them better protection against heart problems than conventional drugs when administered under very carefully controlled circumstances.”
Flavonoids are an array of 6,000 different substances found in virtually all plants, are responsible for many of brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red found in many fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are great for boosting vitamin C levels, inflammation control and even act as a natural antibiotic to fight infections with its super strength antioxidant properties.
The flavonoid family is too complex to list out every single food that has flavonoid present, but the general rule of thumb is – the more colourful the food, the richer it is in flavonoid components.
There are six different types of flavonoids:
Find these flavonoids in green fruits and vegetables like onion and leeks, apple and broccoli, as well as teas (black and green) and tomatoes.
Citrus fruits are a great source of flavanones.
Look out for these in celery and parsley.
A fun flavonoid found in quite a few fruits like peach and apricot, apple, cherries and grapes. Green tea is rich in catechins as well.
Many soy-based substances contain isoflavones. Get yourself some tofu or soy milk.
These are mainly found in pears, cranberries, cherries, currants and blueberries. And you can wash it all down with that glass of red wine... in moderation of course.
Excessive bruising, nose bleeds, swelling after injury, and hemorrhoids can be indicators of flavonoid deficiency. Generally weakened immune function, as evidenced by frequent colds or infections, can also be a sign of inadequate dietary intake of flavonoids.
If you want to top up your flavonoid levels, or have type 2 diabetes and want to reduce your risk of heart disease, take a look at these 15 everyday flavonoid-rich foods.