The Role of Bioflavonoids

hargrave eye center Bioflavonoids are a group of thousands of nutrients found in plant foods.  We actually don’t need to eat bioflavonoids for our bodies or cells to function, but we get a lot of benefits when we do:

These nutrients are not only antioxidants, but are anti-cancer, anti-infectious (i.e., they boost your immunity), anti-allergy, and anti-inflammatory. And pretty delicious too: coffee, tea, chocolate (dark, without the sugar and fat), and berries are high in bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are also found in red peppers, sweet peppers, citrus fruit, garlic, spinach, and apples.  That’s why “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but its smart to eat more than just apples, because our bodies need more antioxidants than one apple a day provides.

In binding metals, bioflavonoids prevent them from causing oxidation within your body.  You may be thinking, I have metals in my body?  Yes, you do — everyone does.  And having some metal is good for you, just like having some vitamins and some bacteria. Think of iron, for example. But unfortunately, science has shown that most of us come into contact with far too much metal in our environment.

Metals are in our air, our drinking water, our soil, and in our food, even in medications. In fact, some vitamin and fish oil pills have metals, which can stem from their sources or their manufacturing.  Metals also leach into our food supply from the diet of farm animals or from processing meats, as shown in many documentaries concerning the source of animals products in the United States and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, these are just a few ways we can unknowingly come into contact with toxic metals. But there are also a few targeted ways to avoid known sources of ingested metals.  This blog post outlines the top 3:

1. Avoid processed foods. The more your meal is processed, the more machines your food has come into physical contact with.  The more machines your food touches, the more likely that metals from those machines have leached into it.  If you eat unprocessed foods, the chance of it coming into contact with metals in minimal at best. And don’t forget about all those other oxidants that go into processed foods.  If possible, go organic, to avoid herbicides and pesticides that can contain toxins and metals such as arsenic.

2. Avoid air pollution. From cigarette smoke to car exhaust, to other gas fumes, these pollutants contain toxic metals that, once inhaled, may be immensely hard to get out of your body.  Even as you walk around an idling car or a person smoking outside a building, simply increasing your distance can help minimize your contact. Also, be sure to jog or bike away from busy roadways if you can.

3. Avoid toxic metals at home. Beyond lead paint, art supplies can contain mercury; plastics (such as vinyl) that are used to make lunch boxes, toys, and furniture can contain lead and toxins; some costume jewelry and even children’s jewelry can contain toxic metals including lead and cadmium; and dish ware can contain lead.  Test items in your home for lead.  A home test kit is easy to buy. Pay attention to where the things you buy are made and avoid buying products made in countries whose products test positive for lead in your home today.  While you can’t go back in time and mitigate past risk, you can make healthier choices for your family.

Source: Adams, N. (2014). The Power of Oxygen. In Healthy vision: Prevent and reverse eye disease through better nutrition. Lyons Press.