A doctor’s video came my way on the value of Vitamin P in fighting heart disease. He shared his info by reading it… very… slowly.
Perhaps to my discredit, I couldn’t last the full 18 minutes; it seemed much longer. So I did a little research on this mystery vitamin.
It turns out Vitamin P is not so mysterious. It’s a term used in the first part of the 20th century for the nutrients we now call bioflavonoids.
Don’t Go To Sleep Yet – They’re Important
Bioflavonoids are pigments in plants, especially yellow or red-blue pigments. They protect plants from insects, fungi and microbes. Intensely colored foods have the most.
They’re linked to the function of every cell in your body.
Over 4,000 flavonoids exist. Here are a few: quercetin, rutin, myricetin, apigenin, hesperetin, hesperidin, luteolin, catechin, eriodictyol, and cyanidin.
So How Do They Fight Heart Disease?
Flavonoids are anti-inflammatory. They prevent plaque formation in the arteries. They lower blood pressure by relaxing arterial muscle. They improve circulation.
Hesperidin is known to lower blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce triglycerides – an independent risk factor for heart disease. It fights inflammation, the root of most diseases. Hesperidin lowers total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. It raises HDL (good) cholesterol. These changes can reduce metabolic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Citrus fruits – lemons, oranges, grapefruit – contain hesperidin, especially in the peel and membranes. It’s also in apricots, plums and bilberry.
They Fight Cancer
Flavonoids may inhibit tumor growth, stopping or slowing the growth of malignant cells. Quercetin fights several cancers: breast, prostate, colon, gastric, head and neck, leukemia, lung, melanoma, liver, ovarian, and cervical.
Because quercetin fights so many cancers, I’ll list its sources here: onions, red cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and black and red grapes.
What Else Do Flavonoids Do?
Bioflavonoids reduce stroke risk.
They’re antiviral, antibiotic, and anti-oxidant, and help fight illness, viruses, and infection. Their bacteria-fighting properties destroy bacteria in foods and protect against food poisoning. They may work as antihistamines.
Bioflavonoids enhance the absorption and action of vitamin C. That strengthens the immune system and helps the skin repair and renew. Skin needs both vitamin C and flavonoids to repair bruises, broken capillaries, varicose veins, and sun damage.
Rutin strengthens capillary walls (and helps with varicose veins). If you bruise easily, that might be a sign of weak capillary walls.
Rutin also helps with glaucoma, hay fever, and hemorrhoids. It reduces allergy symptoms. Allergic reactions may be a sign that you need bioflavonoids in your diet.
Flavonoids may prevent these diverse conditions: hemorrhoids, miscarriages, nosebleeds, cataracts, and retinal bleeding in people with diabetes and hypertension. They also improve bile production.
Bioflavonoids relieve pain and prolonged bleeding and heal injuries faster. They can relieve the pain of oral herpes.
We Get It – More Flavonoids. How?
Our bodies don’t produce bioflavonoids, so we get them through diet (or supplements). Maybe vitamin “P” referred to “plants.” Plant foods are the best sources of flavonoids.
Foods and herbs with flavonoids:
broccoli, red leaf lettuce, kale, spinach, buckwheat, garlic, ginkgo, green peppers, parsley, red onions, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes (lentils, beans), cacao (dark cocoa), tea (green or black), hawthorn, milk thistle, rose hips, yarrow, paprika, coriander, oregano, sage, thyme, garden cress, fresh dill.
Fruits with flavonoids:
apples, apricots, bilberry, black currants, grapes (black and red), tart cherries, blueberries, blackberries, black raspberries, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, mangos, prunes, and citrus fruits.
The white pith beneath citrus peel has most of the flavonoids in citrus. Tangerine pith is easiest to “extract.”
Flavonoids pack a powerful health punch. Be sure to include these foods in your diet.
But Stay Away From These
Certain practices and substances can deplete our flavonoid stores. They include smoking, alcohol consumption, aspirin, prescription antibiotics, painkillers, and cortisone.
And here’s no surprise – a high-sugar diet depletes flavonoids, too.
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