June 24, 2024

What they are, health benefits, food sources, and more

Flavanols are natural compounds commonly found in foods and beverages such as cocoa, grapes and teas. Research suggests they may have some beneficial health effects.

Flavanols, sometimes called flavan-3-ols or catechins, are a type of chemical compound found in various fruits, vegetables and plants.

Research from 2022 onwards suggested that flavanols may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.

Read on to learn more about flavanols, including their benefits, food sources, and supplements.

Flavanols are a subtype of a group of natural compounds known as flavonoids found in fruits, vegetables and other plants. The chemical structure of flavanols is different from other flavonoids, and a 2016 paper They have been shown to be essential to many medications and may provide many health benefits.

Many medications use plants that contain flavanols. They can help treat conditions such as viral infections, diabetes and liver disease.

Flavanols act as antioxidants, which means they can neutralize harmful free radicals. These can damage cells, contributing to illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

There are four main types of flavanols found in nature:

  • flavon-3-ols
  • flavon-4-ols
  • isoflan-4-ols
  • flavon-3,4-ols

In the United States, simple flavan-3-ols are the most commonly consumed type.

Many fruits, vegetables and other plants contain flavanols. Flavanols and other flavonoids often give plants their red or purple color, which means that many purple and red plants are rich in flavanols.

Flavan-3-ol rich foods and drinks include:

Flavanols are present in many common foods and drinks, and most people eat enough if they eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables.

However, some additional flavanol supplements are available.

Common supplements include cocoa extract supplements in pill or powder form. Cacao is rich in flavanols, and there is a significant amount of analysis on its benefits. According to s 2021 studiesthere is ongoing research into the possibility that cocoa flavanol intake may be beneficial for those with certain cardiovascular conditions.

It is also possible that cocoa supplementation in the diet may help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and help manage diabetes. However, this is also not proven.

An individual should consult a doctor before taking these supplements.

Flavanols have a range of health benefits. Research suggests that they may act as:

  • antioxidants
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anticarcinogens
  • anti virus
  • antimicrobials

Antioxidants can provide a range of health benefits, such as reducing oxidative stress, which can cause symptoms such as:

Flavanols may also be beneficial to neurological health. In addition, they may have neuroprotective properties, helping a person maintain cognitive abilities and providing benefits to those with neurodegenerative conditions. However, this has yet to be proven, and research is ongoing.

There is no official recommendation on how much flavanols a person should consume. However, experts say that the daily intake of it 400-600 milligrams allowing people to get the most out of flavanols.

Flavanols are natural compounds that belong to the flavonoid family. They have a range of potential health benefits that researchers continue to study and understand.

Many fruits, vegetables and other plants are rich in flavanols, and flavanol supplements are available to increase one’s intake. However, individuals should do this under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

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