Flavonoids, an amazing array of over 6,000 different substances found in virtually all plants, are responsible for many of the plant colors that dazzle us with their brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. The recognized dietary antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids. However, recent studies have demonstrated that flavonoids found in fruits and vegetables may also act as antioxidants. Flavonoids are plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties; they reduce inflammation, promote healthy arteries, and help fight aging by preventing and repairing cellular damage. Flavonoids may also protect against dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and some cancers.
To get your fill of flavonoids eat four servings of fresh fruit and five servings of vegetables every day. Tea, red wine, and dark chocolate also contain flavonoids. You should limit consumption of wine to a glass a day for women, two for men; and limit chocolate to a couple of small squares, about an ounce.
There are many types of flavonoids, and their concentration in specific foods varies greatly, depending on how a product is grown and processed. Eating a diverse diet that regularly includes some of the following foods will provide you with a healthy helping of flavonoids:
Apples (flavonoids are in the skin), Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Capers, Chocolate (dark, not milk) and cocoa, Onions, Strawberries, Red grapes, Red wine, Tea (all kinds).
I love to make relishes out of different fruits and spices to put on my toast in the morning. I tried this flavonoid rich relish and just had to share with you. This cranberry-raspberry relish is easy to pull together. I also served it on crackers at our Farmers’ Market to the patrons that attended.
· 1 package fresh cranberries
· 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
· 1/2 cup(s) crystallized ginger, minced
· 3 cup(s) raspberries (2 pints), fresh or frozen (not thawed)
· Pulse cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
· Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in sugar and crystallized ginger.
· Gently stir in raspberries.
· Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to let the flavors combine.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture