University of California

Dietary flavonoids may promote health, prevent heart disease


Sheryl A. Lazarus
Harold H. Schmitz

Authors Affiliations

S. Lazarus is Research Biochemist, Mars, Incorporated, Hackettstown, N.J; H. H. Schmitz is Analytical and Applied Sciences Group Manager, Mars, Incorporated, Hackettstown, N.J.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 54(5):33-39. DOI:10.3733/ca.v054n05p33. September 2000.

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Nutrients exert measurable effects on biological processes and are among many factors that optimize health by helping to prevent, cure, treat or slow the progression of chronic diseases. Certain plant components (i.e., phytochemicals) may not be considered essential by traditional measures, but are increasingly recognized for their beneficial health effects. In particular, dietary flavonoids may make an important contribution to cardiovascular health. Epidemiological studies have shown that intake of flavonoids may be inversely associated with long-term mortality from coronary heart disease in epidemiological studies. Research with flavonoid-rich foods such as red wine, tea, blueberries and chocolate has demonstrated their antioxidant capacity. However, different flavonoids appear to have varying degrees of effect (e.g., inhibiting the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and most of the flavonoid research has been limited to a few simple flavonoids, rather than a comprehensive investigation of all flavonoids present in the diet or a particular foodstuff. Well-controlled clinical studies are needed to determine whether flavonoids offer true benefits to cardiovascular health and to understand other potential mechanisms, in addition to antioxidant activity, which may be responsible for their protective action.


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Lazarus S, Schmitz H. 2000. Dietary flavonoids may promote health, prevent heart disease. Hilgardia 54(5):33-39. DOI:10.3733/ca.v054n05p33
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