Flavonoid glycosides are a group of chemical compounds that occur in small but significant amounts in fruits and vegetables. More than 4,000 different flavonoids have been identified, some of which have been studied in detail and are believed to have beneficial effects on human health. Some of the health benefits associated with this group of compounds include strengthening the immune system, protection against cancer, and a reduction in capillary fragility.
A variety of different foods contain these compounds. Fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes and soy products are known to contain flavonoid glycosides. Onions, apples, green tea and red wine are known to be rich in these nutrients, however.
Known for having antioxidant properties, flavonoid glycosides are believed to protect people from diseases, such as cancer. Antioxidants are known to stabilize unstable molecules, known as free radicals, which can potentially damage genetic materials and cells. Thus, this group of compounds can strengthen a person’s immune system.
Although many types of flavonoid glycosides have been identified, few have been studied in depth. The flavonoids that have been studied in detail include rutin, hesperatin, anthocyanaosides, and genistein. Each of these has been found to have specific human health benefits.
Rutin is found in buckwheat and research has shown that this particular flavonoid glucoside can have several implications for human health. Capillary fragility, or weakening of delicate blood vessels, is common in the elderly or those suffering from a vitamin C deficiency. Rutin consumption is believed to strengthen weakened blood vessels and also reduce the risk of heart disease. Hemorrhoids are often treated with rutin.
Hesparitin is found in citrus fruits and is also a known antioxidant. Studies have indicated that it can lower blood pressure and low cholesterol. In addition, hesparitin has anti-inflammatory effects and, as such, is thought to reduce pain in the joints and muscles, particularly among those suffering from arthritic conditions.
Genistein is found in soybeans, and this particular flavonoid glucoside is believed to retard the growth of cancer cells. Studies have suggested that genistein may inhibit the growth of cells associated with breast, colon, cervix, brain, and prostate cancers. Studies using rodents have also indicated that genistein may be effective in treating certain types of leukemia.
Anthrocyanosides are found in blueberries and known to have several positive health implications. Anthocyanoside flavonoid glycosides are believed to help maintain healthy skin, teeth, eyes and hair. Additionally, anthocyanosides are thought to improve cardiovascular health and help protect against conditions like diabetes.
Since they are rich in antioxidants, flavonoid glycosides are believed to help strengthen a person’s immune system. With such enhanced immune function, people think they can protect themselves from serious diseases. For this reason, a diet rich in foods that contain flavonoid glucosides can benefit many people. Anyone considering a major diet change or taking supplements, however, should check with a doctor or nutritionist to be sure of dosages and safety.