The flavanones are a sub-group of phytonutrients (a group of chemical compounds which occur naturally in plants and have numerous health benefits but are not believed to be essential in humans) that belong to the flavonoid family. 3 of the main flavanones are:
Citrus fruits are often the best source of flavanones with grapefruits and oranges both containing high levels. You are probably already aware that citrus fruits can provide your body with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. But what about flavanones? Today I am going to explain exactly how the flavanones support your body and outline 5 fantastic flavanone health benefits:
1) ACTING AS ANTIOXIDANTS:- Antioxidants are powerful nutrients that protect your body’s cells from dangerous free radicals. Free radicals are harmful by-products of oxygen related reactions that damage your body’s cells, increase your risk of developing cancer, increase your risk of developing diabetes, weaken your immune system and accelerate the ageing process. Fortunately, the flavanones are all potent antioxidants and can protect your body’s cells from these nasty free radicals and the damage that they cause.
2) BOOSTING YOUR BLOOD HEALTH:- Consumption of the flavanones is crucial for healthy blood. Hesperidin is a powerful hypolipidemic (a substance that reduces the amount of lipids in the blood) that also keeps the capillaries (the smallest blood vessels in the human body) healthy, protects the other blood vessels from damage and reduces blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a type of cholesterol which clogs the arteries, restricts blood flow and increases your heart disease risk). Naringenin and silymarin also support healthy blood flow by reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
3) PREVENTING CANCER:- Cancer is a nasty health condition which develops when your body’s deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) becomes damaged or disrupted. This then causes rapid, uncontrollable cellular growth which ultimately leads to the formation of a tumour. If this tumour becomes cancerous it can then spread to other areas of the body and cause serious damage to the cells that surround it. The good news is that all the 3 flavanones have been shown to prevent cancer and reduce your risk of developing a cancerous tumour.
4) PREVENTING DIABETES:- Diabetes is a health condition that develops when your body’s cells stop responding to insulin (a hormone that allows your body’s cells to take glucose from the blood) or when your body stops producing enough insulin. This leads to extremely high blood glucose levels which if left untreated can damage your body’s cells and vital organs. Fortunately, naringenin and silymarin have both been shown to counteract the effects of diabetes and increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Naringenin has also been shown to protect the body’s cells and vital organs from diabetes damage.
5) PROTECTING THE LIVER:- Naringenin and silymarin are 2 very important nutrients when it comes to liver health. Naringenin has been shown to reduce the production of the hepatitis C virus (which causes damage to the liver and increases liver inflammation) whilst silymarin acts as an antihepatotoxic (a substance that protects the liver from dangerous toxins). Silymarin also prevents liver inflammation and treats various types of liver disease.
FLAVANONE HEALTH BENEFITS SUMMARY
Whilst the flavanones are not officially classed as essential to human health, you should still be eating them if you value your health. Not only are they powerful antioxidants which prevent cancer and diabetes but they also support your blood and your liver in a way that many other nutrients cannot. As discussed at the beginning of this article, citrus fruits are an excellent source of flavanones and something you should definitely be eating if you do not already. So next time you go shopping make sure you pick up some grapefruit, oranges or another flavanone filled citrus fruit.