The beginning of the year is a time for making a extra effort with your health and well-being, but with so many ideas, opinions and fads, its knowing where to begin, easily the best starting point (and as I say to all my clients) “think colour & eat a rainbow”
Which colourful foods are the most beneficial? Those rich in flavonoids – phytochemicals are chemicals in plants that aren’t nutrients, in that they aren’t essential to life, but they can interact with our physiology. One of the largest groups are flavonoids, they are secondary metabolites that give rich colour pigments in foods like deep dark purples and red.
Flavonoids have a reputation for being effective antioxidants, particularly those of the flavanol and the flavan-3-ol varieties, there are certain types of cells in the body that they seem to have an affinity for, protecting against free radical damage, like red blood cells.
Flavonoids deliver an anti-inflammatory activity, by blocking the activity of the enzymes cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase which are involved in the manufacture of series 2 prostaglandins that initiate and exacerbate inflammation.
Protecting the nervous system
Flavonoids can offer a protective role to the health of the nervous system, they can reduce oxidative damage, help with nerve regeneration, and that high flavonoid diets can help slow cognitive decline.
Support cardiovascular health
Flavonoids benefit the cardiovascular health; they can lower blood pressure. Flavonoids get taken up by the endothelial cells, (the endothelium is the active skin that lines the inside of our blood vessels) causing a rapid metabolic distress that stimulates the production and release of Nitric Oxide. This leaves the endothelial cells and enters the smooth muscle that makes up the vessel walls. Nitric Oxide causes these muscle fibres to relax, as they relax the vessel gets bigger, as it gets bigger, the pressure within it drops. This effect is transient but a regular intake of flavonoid rich foods can have a major impact on this.
Flavonoids also protect blood lipids triglycerides and cholesterol from damage. This type of oxidative damage can cause damage to the endothelium which creates the cascade that leads to heart disease.
Some flavonoids such as quercetin can have an anticoagulant activity, that can reduce excessive clotting of the blood.
Flavonoids have also been shown to exhibit anti-diabetic and anti-cancer activities
Flavonoid rich foods
Green and black Tea
Keep your diet varied, seasonal and colourful, on a daily basis.
For further information and nutritional consultancies contact Suzanne Garaty