Way to free radicals


Little info about how to deal with free radicals. Maybe it will be useful to someone. 

Flavonoids, compounds of which there are over five thousand, effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular and cancer diseases. They are called “scavengers of free radicals. 

Widespread in the vegetable world, they occur in flowers, fruits, seeds, leaves and roots. 

In the daily diet should be found about 75 – 80 dag of vegetables and fruits – the most valuable sources of these substances for humans. 


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They belong to organic compounds (meaning they have coal in their structure), which are included in polyphenols. The basic chemical structure of flavonoids are two aromatic rings, connected by a three-carbon chain. They give the plants color, taste and smell. They dissolve in water. 

Among the favonoids it stands out 

1. Flavones – aspigenine, luteolin 

2. Flavonols – quercetin, kermferol, moraine, myricetin 

3. Flavanons – hesperin, naringenin 

4. Isoflavones – daidzein, genistein 

5. Catechins 

6. Anthocyanidins 

The source of flavonoids in nutrition are vegetables, fruits and tea, red wine, herbal spices (eg marjoram, rosemary). 

The most flavonoids contain vegetables and fruits: onions, kale, beans, broccoli, chicory, celery, cranberries, blueberries, red and black currants, dark grapes, grapefruit, oranges, apples. 

Flavonoids are often called bioflavonoids or vitamin P, because they show a wide spectrum of biological effects on the human body. Depending on the species, plants and fruits contain different flavonoid compounds. 

The consumption of flavonoids in the diet, as well as the proportion of products in the delivery of these compounds varies from country to country. 

For example, in the Netherlands, the consumption of flavonoids is on average around 30 mg per day; they come mainly from tea, onion, apples. 

In the US – about 20 mg, and an important source of them, along with tea, apples, and onions are also broccoli. The Japanese consume about 80 percent. flavonoids from tea, while in the Italian diet 40 percent these compounds come from red wine. 

As research in the Netherlands and Finland shows, flavonoids have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease and cancer. The results obtained after five years of observation suggest that the high intake of flavonoids decreases the risk of death from ischemic heart disease, stroke and myocardial infarction. 

Epidemiological studies indicate that in France, although the French consume large amounts of saturated fatty acids, there is a low mortality rate from ischemic heart disease. Why? 

The reason is the high consumption of red wine, which is a very good source of non-alcoholic polyphenols, which include quercetin, catechin, myricetin, epigallocatechin. 

The red wine also contains rosweratrol, derived from grape skins. The anti-atherogenic effect of these compounds lies in their antioxidant properties, i.e. these compounds protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which in this form is harmful. 

Bioflavonoids derived from red wine are better absorbed by the body than bioflavonoids from fruits, because in fruits they are found in combination with other compounds (eg with sugars – in glycoside forms) and they are less well absorbed. 

In protection against ischemic heart disease, thrombosis and myocardial infarction, as effective as aspirin, it can also be red grape juice – it seems to be a very good food for prevention and cardiovascular diseases. 

Another product, rich in flavonoids, is tea, especially green. 



Green tea contains flavanols 

catechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin and others. Antioxidant properties of green tea are six times higher than black – a glass of this drink contains about 140 mg of flavonoids.

An important source of flavonoids, apart from red wine, grape juice and tea, are vegetables and fruits, especially onions and apples. 

Of particular note is soybean, rich in isoflavones, daidzein, genistein, and glycitol. Protective action before the development of atherosclerosis has been attributed to soy for a long time. 

Flavonoids seem to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. They work as strong antioxidants – so-called scavengers of free radicals. 

In summary, flavonoids have strong antioxidant activity, i.e. they protect cholesterol from oxidation (which is harmful in this form); they neutralize toxic oxygen free radicals, thus inhibiting the development of atherosclerosis and cancer; reduce the permeability of blood vessels and weaken the breakdown of vitamin C, prolonging its presence in the body; support the immune system; relaxation of the blood vessels slightly decreases blood pressure; they reduce the risk of blood clots. 

The consumption of flavonoids should be between 1 – 2 g per day. 

Isoprenoids include terpenes, sterols, carotenoids. 

All of these compounds have in their chemical structure isoprene molecule – a branched chain unsaturated hydrocarbon. They are part of fragrances and coloring substances, fruits, herbs and spices. 

Terpenes (eg limonene present in cumin) are components of essential oils that support the work of the stomach, liver and kidneys, as well as inhibit the development of some cancers (including prostate and pancreas). 

Sterols – phytosterols (eg sitosterol, brassicasterol contained in rapeseed oil) reduce absorption in the gastrointestinal tract of atherosclerotic cholesterol (LDL), reduce its level in the blood and prevent the development of cancer. Indoles present in cabbage inhibit the synthesis of carcinogenic nitrosamines, whereas carotenoids (eg lycopene – a carotene pigment contained in tomatoes) have antioxidant activity, i.e. they are scavenging free oxygen radicals. 

Lycopene-rich sauces and tomato purées. 

It turns out that lycopene obtained from tomato skins absorbs better in the body when tomatoes are processed. About 85 percent in the diet Lycopene comes from tomatoes and tomato products. Currently, there is a number of evidence that lycopene reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers, such as prostate cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, also slows down the aging process of the body. 

Lycopene works by binding oxygen radicals that damage cell structure. 

Free radicals are formed in the body in a natural way, while in pathological conditions (inflammation, atherosclerosis, cancer) there is a synthesis of excessive amounts of oxygen radicals, nitric oxide and lipid peroxides, dangerous for human health. 

Free oxygen radicals are also found in cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes and air pollution. 

Lycopene is more effective when taken together with vitamins C and E. It is found in a few products, including in paprika, watermelons and red grapefruits, but in tomatoes it is the most. 

Doctors recommend that every day at least one meal should contain a vegetable or fruit rich in this relationship. 


You can read also: Antioxidants and training adaptation

Posted on: February 21, 2019

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