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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 researched in detail and are believed to have beneficial effects on human health. Some of the health related benefits associated with this group of compounds include strengthening of 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 to have antioxidant properties, flavonoid glycosides are believed to help protect individuals 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 any depth. The flavonoids that have been researched in detail include rutin, hesperatin, anthocyanaosides, and genistein. Each of these has been found have specific benefits for human health.
Rutin is found in buckwheat and research has demonstrated that this particular flavonoid glycoside may have several implications for human health. Capillary fragility, or the weakening of delicate blood vessels, is common in the elderly or those who suffer from a vitamin C deficiency. Consumption of rutin is believed to strengthen weakened blood vessels and also reduce the risk of heart disease. Hemorrhoids are also often treated with rutin.
Hesparitin is found in citrus fruits and is also a known antioxidant. Studies have indicated that it can reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol. In addition, hesparitin has anti-inflammatory effects and, as such, is thought to reduce pain in the joints and muscles, particularly among those who suffer from arthritic conditions.
Genistein is found in soy, and this particular flavonoid glycoside is believed to delay the growth of certain cancerous 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 some types of leukemia.
Anthrocyanosides are found in bilberries and known to have several positive health implications. Anthocyanoside flavonoid glycosides are believed to help maintain healthy skin, teeth, eyes, and hair. In addition, anthocyanosides are thought to improve cardiovascular health and help to protect against conditions such as diabetes.
Since they are rich in antioxidants, flavonoid glycosides are believed to help boost a person's immune system. With such bolstered immune function, it is thought people can protect themselves from serious illnesses. For this reason, a diet rich in foods that contain flavonoid glycosides may benefit many people. Those considering a major dietary change or taking supplements, however, should check with a physician or nutritionist to be sure of dosages and safety.