The flavones are a sub-group of phytonutrients (a group of chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and are not believed to be essential in humans but do have various health benefits) that make up part of the flavonoid family. The major flavones are:
The flavones are mainly found in green herbs and green leafy vegetables with artichokes, celery hearts, olive leaves and peppermint all being excellent sources. Oranges are also a very good source of the flavone tangeretin. In this article I will be taking a more in-depth look at these important flavonoids and providing you with a full overview of 8 excellent flavone health benefits:
1) ACTING AS ANTIHISTAMINES:- Histamine is a chemical that is released during allergic reactions and causes various allergic symptoms including itching, sneezing, swelling and redness. Antihistamines work against histamine and help reduce these negative symptoms. The good news is that luteolin is a powerful antihistamine that can help people deal with their allergies and the unpleasant associated symptoms. Apigenin also has a similar soothing effect on people’s allergies but is not classed as an antihistamine.
2) ACTING AS ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES:- Inflammation is your body’s natural reaction to infection, injury, irritation or stress and it normally leads to heat, pain, redness or swelling. Inflammation is generally positive as it shows that your body has responded to infection, injury, irritation or stress and is starting to repair any damage that was caused. However, some inflammation is unnecessary and actually damages your body. Fortunately, both apigenin and luteolin are potent anti-inflammatories (substances which prevent unnecessary inflammation in the body) and can minimise the damage caused by unnecessary inflammation.
3) ACTING AS ANTIOXIDANTS:- Antioxidants are powerful nutrients that fight dangerous free radicals (harmful substances that are released during oxygen related reactions). Free radicals can damage your immune system, cause cancer, cause diabetes and increase the visible signs of ageing. The good news is that apigenin and luteolin are both powerful antioxidants that protect the body’s cells from these harmful effects.
4) ACTING AS AN ANTISPASMODIC:- Antispasmodics are substances that prevent muscle spasms and smooth muscle contractions. Research has revealed that apigenin is a powerful antispasmodic. Luteolin also has the ability to smooth muscle contractions but is not considered an antispasmodic.
5) BOOSTING YOUR BLOOD HEALTH:- The flavones have a number of blood boosting benefits. Apigenin can prevent atherosclerosis (a condition where your arteries become hard and lose elasticity) and promote healthy blood flow. Apigenin and tangeretin can also reduce blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a type of cholesterol that builds up on the artery walls, causes blockages and restricts the flow of blood) which again supports healthy blood flow. Finally, luteolin can strengthen the capillaries (the smallest blood vessels in the human body) which also improves blood flow.
6) PREVENTING CANCER:- Cancer is a disease that develops when the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in your body’s cells becomes damaged and causes the cells to grow in a rapid, uncontrollable way. This leads to the formation of a tumour which can become cancerous, spread to other areas of the body and damage the surrounding cells. Fortunately, all 3 flavones have some serious cancer fighting power. Apigenin can prevent breast cancer, colon cancer, leukaemia, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and thyroid cancer whilst luteolin and tangeretin have both been linked with all round cancer prevention.
7) STRENGTHENING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM:- The immune system is a set of biological structures and processes that fights disease and foreign bodies. A weak immune system can leave you very susceptible to disease and infection whilst a strong immune system can keep you healthy and disease free all year round. The good news is that luteolin can assist with the latter by strengthening your immune system and reducing your chances of contracting any nasty diseases or infections.
8) TREATING DIABETES:- Diabetes is a nasty disease that causes your blood glucose levels to become extremely high. It can be caused by either your body’s cells not responding to insulin (a hormone that allows your cells to take glucose from the blood) or your body not producing enough insulin. Failing to treat diabetes can cause serious damage to your body’s cells and vital organs. Fortunately, luteolin can help in this area by reducing blood glucose levels and promoting insulin production in the body.
FLAVONE HEALTH BENEFITS SUMMARY
Whilst the flavones are not considered essential in humans, there are still plenty of reasons to make sure they are included in your diet. They can keep you safe from a number of diseases and protect your body’s cells in various ways. The flavones are also a very easy flavonoid to add to your diet. All you need to do is start eating more greens, snack on the occasional orange and use more herbs in your cooking. So if your diet is currently lacking in these types of food, make some changes and start enjoying all the flavone health benefits covered in this article.