A Complete Guide to Flavonoids and Their Remarkable Properties

A Complete Guide to Flavonoids and Their Remarkable Properties

Table of Contents

Have you ever wondered what gives plants their color, flavor, and beneficial properties? From the immunity-boosting magic of blueberries to the heart-healthy power of dark chocolate, plants seem to possess some sort of... special, secret ability.
The answer to this mystery may surprise you. The secret to many of the perks we gain from plant life is a little-known thing called “flavonoids.” This chemical compound is responsible for plants' pigmentation and antioxidant properties. Numerous studies have shown that they offer amazing benefits, such as promoting heart health and brain function.
Before we dive into all the remarkable benefits of flavonoids, however, let us ask the most important question...

What are Flavonoids?

womans hands holding a bunch of blueberries

Flavonoids are phytochemicals that are found in different parts of a plant. This includes the leaves, stems, flowers, fruits, and trichomes.
They are referred to as secondary metabolites. This means they are beneficial but not essential to the plant. They develop to protect the plant from specific environmental conditions such as climate, solar radiation, and humidity. They also attract pollinators like bees to ensure plants are fertilized and can reproduce.
But, as mentioned before, these compounds are not just good for plants. Flavonoids provide the human body with various benefits, too. This is because they possess clinically proven anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. They also have cardio-protective and neuroprotective effects.
There are many different types of flavonoids, and their effects on the body depend on the type of flavonoid. They are divided into subgroups. A few of them include chalcones, flavones, flavonols, anthocyanins, and isoflavones.

Types of Flavonoids and Their Main Sources

Here are a few types of flavonoids, their (subgroups), and their potential sources.


quercetin flavonoid chemical formula and examples of sources

Benefits: Powerful antioxidant, reduces inflammation.
Sources: Onions, apples, berries, citrus fruits, green tea.

Luteolin (Flavones)

Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective.
Sources: Celery, parsley, thyme, peppers, chamomile tea.

Rutin (Flavonols)

Benefits: Strengthens blood vessels, improves circulation.
Sources: Buckwheat, apples, citrus fruits, black tea.


Benefits: Antioxidant, supports cardiovascular health.
Sources: Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit), berries.


Benefits: Supports heart health, anti-inflammatory.
Sources: Citrus fruits (grapefruit, oranges), tomatoes.

Myricetin (Flavonols)

Benefits: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory.
Sources: Red onions, berries, grapes, green tea.

Apigenin (Flavones)

Benefits: Reduces anxiety.
Sources: Parsley, chamomile tea, celery, oranges.

Morin (Flavonols)

Benefits: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory.
Sources: Apples, figs, guava, osage orange.


kaempferol chemical structure and common sources

Benefits: Anti-cancer properties, supports heart health.
Sources: Kale, spinach, broccoli, tea, strawberries.


Benefits: Cardiovascular support, improves blood flow.
Sources: Dark chocolate, apples, tea, berries, red wine.

Catechins (Flavan-3-ols)

Benefits: Boosts metabolism, and aids in weight loss.
Sources: Green tea, black tea, white tea, dark chocolate.

Isorhamnetin (Flavonols)

Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, supports cardiovascular health.
Sources: Onions, tomatoes, pears, olive oil.

Hesperidin (Flavanones)

Benefits: Cardiovascular support, anti-inflammatory.
Sources: Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons), berries.

Cyanidin (Anthocyanins)

Benefits: Supports heart health.
Sources: Berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries).

Pelargonidin (Anthocyanins)

Benefits: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory.
Sources: Strawberries, raspberries, red radishes.

Delphinidin (Anthocyanins)

Benefits: Supports cognitive function, anti-inflammatory.
Sources: Blueberries, blackcurrants, elderberries.

Cannflavins: Flavoinoids Exclusive to Cannabis

macro of cannabis trichomes on a purple flower

The cannabis plant is not just a feel-good herb. While many are aware of its euphoric cannabinoids, like THC and HHC, and the terpenes that give it its distinct scent, most are not aware that it also contains a variety of flavonoids.
These compounds are believed to give cannabis strains their different hues, from purple to red, and even contribute to the effects of certain cannabinoids. More than 20 flavonoids have been found in cannabis sativa, including quercetin and luteolin.  

However, cannflavin A, B, and C are flavonoids that are unique to the cannabis plant, meaning they can’t be found anywhere else. Well, except for cannflavin A, which has also been found in the monkeyflower.
Cannflavins are created through a unique genetic biosynthetic pathway. This means that two enzymes can transform a general flavone into a cannabis-specific flavone. This shows that scientists may eventually create these flavonoids in a lab, but you can also get them naturally by enjoying hemp seeds or other cannabis products. Cannflavins can also contribute to the entourage effect by increasing the bioactivity of other cannabis compounds.  

Now that we understand what flavonoids are, let's dive into their numerous benefits.

Benefits of Flavonoids

Flavonoids have been scientifically proven to have various benefits for the body. More research needs to be done on the types of flavonoids known to man and their benefits. Because they are created based on environmental factors, exposing plants to different external factors may bring more knowledge to light. 
Here are some benefits based on current flavonoid research.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Flavonoids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. This is because they interfere with the development of inflammatory mediators.
Cannflavins are known to interfere with the inflammation process. They inhibit enzymes such as leukotrienes and lipids associated with prostaglandins. These are inflammation agents in the body.
Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, cannflavins are being investigated for their potential in relieving symptoms of pain. Because they are non-addictive, they could be a better alternative to pain medications like opioids. Research shows they may have 30 times more anti-inflammatory properties than aspirin.

Rich in Antioxidants

The body has a natural process of ensuring sufficient oxidation. However, the presence of some lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids causes stress in the process. Lack of proper oxidation leads to the damage and death of cells in the body.
Flavonoids act as exogenous antioxidants. This means they are introduced to the body through diet. They help reduce oxygen-derived free radicals in the body and improve general health, including bone health, cardiovascular health, and preventing blood clots.

Promote Cardiovascular Health

There is a positive relationship between the consumption of flavonoids and cardiovascular health. Some studies suggest that those who consume more flavonoids have an 18% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.
Flavonoids found in tea, chocolate, and Brazil nuts are great for heart health. High consumption of these flavonoids may decrease arterial stiffness. This improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. This is further improved by their anti-inflammatory properties, which promote the health of your heart cells.

Neuroprotective Potential

Flavonoids may be neuroprotective. Research suggests they may prevent neurodegenerative diseases and counteract age-related cognitive disorders such as dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease.
Brain health is negatively affected by the presence of high amounts of lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Because of their antioxidant capacity, flavonoids and cannflavins may prevent the damage of brain cells.
Cannflavin A has been shown to prevent amyloid-B fibrillation. Amyloid is a protein that can form plaque and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. When taken in low doses, cannflavin A has been shown to prevent the development of plaque.

Sugar Control Benefits

Research shows that cranberry flavonoids decrease blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity in animals. Some flavonoids, such as anthocyanins, also control obesity and may therefore also help people control blood sugar better.
Many flavonoids are great for sugar control because they increase the secretion of insulin, improve hyperglycemia, reduce resistance to insulin, and increase the uptake of glucose by skeletal muscles. For example, dark chocolate rich in flavanols enhances insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin resistance.

Flavonoids and cannflavins may have many more benefits for the body, including antiviral, antibacterial, anti-malaria, and antifungal properties. More research is still underway, however, they are important compounds to add to your daily lifestyle to enhance your overall well-being.

Let us take a look at simple and effective ways to enjoy the benefits of flavonoids in your life.

How to Enjoy the Benefits of Flavonoids

woman holding a bunch of kale at the farmer's market

The best way to ensure you enjoy a wide array of flavonoids and their benefits is to eat a variety of whole foods that are rich in these phytochemicals. The phrase “always have a rainbow on your plate”, is a smart way to look at your diet.
Eat a variety of vegetables with different colors, such as red cabbage, spinach, onions, bell peppers, and broccoli. Add fresh fruit to your meals, especially citrus fruits like oranges, and berries such as blueberries, and apples. Herbs like thyme and parsley are also great sources of flavonoids. Remember to add grains to your diet. Grains, such as buckwheat and sorghum, are sources of flavonoids.
The cannabis plant is a great source of cannflavins. You can choose different ways of ingesting it, like adding hemp seeds to your acai bowls or hemp hearts to some yogurt. 

Plant Superpowers?

You have to admit that flavonoids' medical properties are almost magical. These chemicals can keep us healthy, strong, and young when consumed consistently. The best part is that they are easily available in everyday ingredients.
Until next time, happy exploring, and mind your mind!

FDA Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

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