Cell To Soul: A Saratoga Nutrition Blog

Food IS Medicine: Foods High in Flavonoid's Give us so Much

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     As we continue in this great time of year for farmers markets, vegetable gardens, there are still many delicious foods that we associate with the sunny days of summer: sweet blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries; succulent plums, apricots, peaches, and nectarines; deep red Bing or bright yellow Rainier cherries; flavorful red and black grapes, velvety mangoes and kiwi; and juicy watermelons. And there's so much more: sweet yellow or red onions, pungent garlic, dark leafy greens and lettuces, red tomatoes, green zucchini squash, and bright yellow crookneck squash.

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What do all of these wonderful foods have in common? 1-They are  all colorful due to the plant pigments known as flavonoids. There are several types of flavonoids, and different foods vary in the types of flavonoids that they contain. For example, red and purple berries and grapes contain anthocyanidins; yellow onions and kale contain flavonols. No matter the type, flavonoids are an exciting area of nutritional research. The high content of flavonoids in fruit- and vegetable-rich diets contribute to the health benefits associated with plant-based diets.

 

Just a few facts:

 

Regulation of cell processes. Flavonoids can regulate cell growth, proliferation, and death by controlling the biochemical events that lead to changes in the expression of specific genes. Through this action, flavonoids may inhibit the productions of proteins associated with chronic diseases.

Cardiovascular benefits. Flavonoid-containing foods have been shown to increase the production of nitric oxide by endothelial cells in blood vessel walls. Nitric oxide promotes the vasodilation (relaxation) of arteries; it also decreases the stickiness of platelets, one of the first steps in clot formation. Both of these effects are desirable in the treatment and prevention of coronary artery disease.

Cancer prevention. High dietary intakes of some flavonoids have been found to be inversely related to the risk of certain cancers. It is believed that the flavonoids act by inhibiting the proliferation and promoting the death (apoptosis) of cancer cells.


Neurodegenerative disease prevention. Flavonoids also possess antioxidant, metal-chelating, and anti-inflammatory properties that make them potential protectors against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Anti-aging.  Flavonoids have also been associated with improved cognitive performance and decreased age-related cognitive decline.

 

So fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables: They look good, taste good, and they're good for you!


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Mary Beth McCue Saratoga Nutrition ConsultantMary Beth McCue RD, LDN, CDN - Integrative Nutrition Consultant

Rebalance your mind, body and soul with tools and advice from nutritionist Mary Beth McCue. For more than 20 years, Mary Beth has helped many optimize their health and resolve unique chronic health conditions relating to weight, digestion, food intolerances, energy & metabolism, depression, inflammation, aging and more. She has initiated a variety of first time programming in corporate, community, collegiate, National Spa & Retreat Centers, Rehabilitation Farms and Organic Farms, and more. Mary Beth was appointed by the CEO of a large Health Care Organization to initiate an Integrative Health Model. This programming successfully continues today.

Nominated as "Dietitian of the Year" while working for the largest employer of Dietitians in the world, Mary Beth McCue is a Licensed and Certified Nutritionist who specializes in Integrative and Functional Medicine Concepts. She is amongst a very small percentage of nutritionists in this field whom have dedicated their professional education and training with organizations such as Harvard Medical School, The Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) and the American College of Sports Medicine. Mary Beth is an avid hiker, biker, and skier. Strength training, yoga and her black lab help keep a check on the daily balances. Learn more at www.SaratogaNutrition.com.