Flavonoids are a diverse range of polyphenolic compounds that are present in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, chocolate and wine. In this study, dietary flavonoids were divided into six subclasses, and their effects on the body composition of women were investigated.
Recently, the attention of researchers has been focused on lesser-known and underutilized species of edible berries, such as crowberry, lingonberry and rowanberry. Wild berry species often display higher antioxidant activity and have higher concentrations of phenolic compounds in comparison with cultivated berries. Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) has one of the highest content of antioxidants.
Earlier studies have shown that dietary fruit and berry intake may reduce cardiovascular disease risk. However, more studies are needed to find out that which fruits and berries are most beneficial, and which key constituents are responsible for the health benefits. Recent studies have suggested beneficial effects of higher intakes of specific fruits, including blueberries and grapes, for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, flavonoids seem to be improving endothelian function, blood pressure and insulin sensitivity. Therefore, flavonoids might be key constituents of fruits and berries that decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Most of the studies that have examined the associations between flavonoids and cardiovascular disease have focused on women. Thus, this study was concentrating on men.
Depression is globally a major cause of disability. Although many patients respond favourably to treatment, residual symptoms and dysfunction from depression are common, especially among older adults. Therefore, scientists are looking for effective depression prevention strategies.
Quercetin is a flavonol that is classified as an antioxidant and has natural antihistamine properties. Many wild berries, such as bog whortleberry, cranberry and sea buckthorn berry, contain high amounts of quercetin.
Source: Cassidy, A., Franz, M. & Rimm, E.B. (2016): Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi 10.3945/ajcn.115.122010.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common sexual dysfunction of middle-aged men with a prevalence of 33–52%. The most frequent physical causes of ED are vascular diseases, and therefore ED has similar risk factors (hypertension, obesity, and smoking) than cardiovascular disease. Earlier studies have found out that a healthy diet, increased physical activity, and statin therapy (cholesterol lowering medication) can decrease the incidence of ED.
According to earlier studies, also Mediterranean diet has a positive influence on men’s sexual health. The Mediterranean diet consists of grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and olive oil, and therefore this diet contains also high concentrations of flavonoids that may help explain the observed beneficial effects. The aim of this study was to examine the relation of the main subclasses of flavonoids with incidence of ED.
Source: Bertoia, M.L., Rimm, E.B., Mukamal, K.J., Hu, F.B., Willet, W.C. & Cassidy, A. (2016): Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124 086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years. BMJ 2016, 352:i17.
Previous studies have revealed associations between intake of certain fruits and vegetables and weight maintenance. An increased intake of blueberries, apples, pears, prunes, strawberries, and grapes has contributed to weight control. According to animal models and short term human studies, flavonoids decrease energy intake, increase glucose uptake in muscle, and decrease glucose uptake in adipose tissue. Flavonoids are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, flavonoids may decrease fat absorption, increase energy expenditure, and inhibit adipogenesis (the process during which fibroblast develop into mature adipocytes).
The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between consumption of certain flavonoids and weight gain. The results would provide guidance on which fruits and vegetables should be chosen in order to prevent weight gain. Even small increases in weight can have a significant effect on the risk of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Therefore strategies to help people to maintain a healthy weight are critically needed.