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What Are the Best Sources for Flavonoid Antioxidants?

M.C. Huguelet
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Flavonoids are the natural chemical compounds that give plants their bright colors. Research has shown that, when eaten, many flavonoids have antioxidant properties and they may therefore offer protection against cell damage. Flavonoid antioxidants are found in many commonly eaten foods. Good sources of flavonoid antioxidants include fruits, especially berries, onions, and some green vegetables. Tea, wine, beer, and cocoa are also good sources of flavonoid antioxidants.

Many fruits contain a significant amount of flavonoid antioxidants. As flavonoids contribute to plants’ bright hues, it is perhaps no surprise that richly colored fruits such as blueberries and raspberries are among the best sources of these compounds. Flavonoid antioxidants can also be found in other fruits, such as apples. It should be noted that flavonoids are often concentrated in a fruit’s skin, and that the fruit’s skin should thus be eaten along with its flesh for maximum flavonoid intake.

Onions are an excellent source of flavonoid antioxidants. As with fruits, the depth of an onion’s color seems to be directly related to its flavonoid content. Thus, a red onion tends to contain more flavonoids than a yellow one.

Some green vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, also contain flavonoid antioxidants. It is important to note, however, that cooking vegetables for long time periods can diminish their flavonoid content, along with their percentages of other health-boosting vitamins and nutrients. Therefore, care should be taken to avoid overcooking vegetables. As a basic guideline, some nutritionists recommend that vegetables should be removed from a heat source before their color begins to grow dull.

A number of common beverages also contain flavonoids with antioxidant properties. Chief among these are green and black teas as well as red wine. Hops also contain antioxidant flavonoids, making beer a good source of these compounds. As excessive alcohol consumption can lead to intoxication, organ damage, and chemical dependency, however, it is recommended that both wine and beer should be consumed in moderation.

Finally, chocolate lovers may be delighted to learn that cocoa contains flavonoid antioxidants. Some research has suggested that the milk contained in many types of chocolate may interfere with flavonoids’ antioxidant properties, however. Therefore, it is believed that only dark chocolate products with a cocoa content of approximately 70 percent or higher truly offer a significant antioxidant benefit. Unfortunately, many people dislike products with such high concentrations of cocoa, as they tend to be quite bitter in taste.

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M.C. Huguelet
By M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide range of publications, including The Health Board. With degrees in Writing and English, she brings a unique perspective and a commitment to clean, precise copy that resonates with readers. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By manykitties2 — On Dec 01, 2011

@lonelygod - If you are looking to find some of those super antioxidants you should go red. Eat anything natural that has a rich red color. Things like cherries, berries, pomegranates and tomatoes are all rich in super antioxidants and can really help you with their anti-inflammatory properties.

Also, if you hated taking a herbal antioxidant you should try adding some antioxidant herbs to your diet. Things like oregano have been shown to have way more antioxidants in them than fruit and vegetables, so if you love Italian food you're in luck. Just add a teaspoon or two to your pasta sauce and reap the benefits.

By sunshined — On Dec 01, 2011

I find it interesting that the darker the color of food, the healthier it seems to be. This doesn't seem to matter whether it is a fruit, vegetable or wine.

I had never thought of onions as being full of flavonoid antioxidants. This makes sense why a red onion would have more nutrition than a white onion.

The same thing goes for wine. You always hear of the benefits of drinking red wine, but don't hear much about white wine having the same nutritional benefits.

I think one reason juicing is so good for you is that you get the whole fruit, including the skins that have a lot of the nutritional value.

Of course you can't do this with something like an orange, but you keep all of the white layer right underneath the peel which many people like to peel off if they are eating the orange.

By lonelygod — On Nov 30, 2011

Does anyone know of any flavonoids that would have what you could call super antioxidants in them?

I am not a huge fan of vegetables and would really like to find something to eat that would let me get a lot more bang for my buck. I have tried drinking some herbal antioxidants, but found that I didn't really like the taste, which leaves me with trying to find some more natural foods to help out my system.

Right now I am mostly sticking to blue berries, celery and purple grapes, as I have read that these fruits and vegetables can help my immune system. They are also delicious, which helps a lot.

By golf07 — On Nov 29, 2011

I take supplements on a regular basis, and know they help fill in the nutritional gaps, but still like to eat right too.

One of my favorite things is to make a big smoothie drink that is full of flavonoids and antioxidants.

This drink never contains the exact same thing, but is full of whatever fresh fruit and vegetables I have on hand.

It usually always contains at least two different kinds of citrus fruits, some raw vegetables along with some flax seed and extra protein.

I love to use fresh blueberries and raspberries with a little bit of frozen banana. When I add vegetables like cabbage and spinach, you get the benefits of the flavonoids, but can't even taste them.

If you have kids that don't like the taste of vegetables, this is a great way to get them to eat some vegetables. The drink is sweetened with honey, and is packed with a lot of nutrition for good health and energy.

By julies — On Nov 28, 2011

I have always been a chocolate lover and was so excited when I learned that cocoa is a flavonoid antioxidant.

The first time I heard this, I thought it might not be true, but since then I have heard it confirmed from many different sources.

During the last few years I have really tried to cut out sugar from my diet, and I can tell that I crave different things than I used to.

Milk chocolate used to be my chocolate of choice, and I thought the dark chocolate was too bitter. Now the dark chocolate is what I prefer, as I feel like the mild chocolate is too sweet.

I like to buy a dark chocolate candy bar at the health food store that also contains bits of fruit such as raspberries, blueberries or oranges.

The fruit adds a lot to the chocolate and hopefully I am getting flavonoids from both the cocoa and the fruit!

By EdRick — On Nov 27, 2011

@SailorJerry - I definitely agree with you that the best antioxidants are fresh fruits and veggies!

I'm kind of bummed, though, to read that milk interferes with the antioxidants in cocoa, because I had heard that cocoa was good for you but of course I put it in milk! I buy cocoa powder and make my own less-sweet hot cocoa.

Another thing I like to do with it is mix it into plain yogurt with a drop of vanilla extract and a smidge of sugar.

Oh, well. It tastes food, and the milk and yogurt are good for me and I'm sure the cocoa is doing me *some* good, even if I do put it in milk. Still a healthy way for me to enjoy chocolate taste!

By SailorJerry — On Nov 27, 2011

I just want to point out that everything this article mentioned is *food.* You can get antioxidant supplements, but research does not show that they do you any good. In fact, the latest research shows that antioxidant supplements may actually be harmful! (It's not totally clear why.)

Sorry, folks - there's no shortcut to eating actual food. Oranges, strawberries, yum. Bright foods are prettier and healthier!

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide...
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