Akshay Kumar’s TVC on Brook Bond’s Red Label tea has thrown up a new word on public conscious: flavonoids. It tells that the tea (the Red Label variety) is a healthy drink because it contains flavonids.
That’s true. But not the whole truth.
Virtually all fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices contain flavonoids. Most fruits and berries contain these compounds, though blueberries, cranberries, bananas, oranges, and apples are known for being particularly flavonoid-rich. Vegetables, especially broccoli, onions, spinach, eggplant, and tomatoes, are excellent sources as well. Beer, red wine, various nuts and beans, and dark chocolate also contain flavonoids, as do a wide range of teas. They are also found in other types of food, including dry beans (where they give red beans, black beans, and speckled beans their color) and grains (where the colour provided by flavonoids is usually in the yellow family).
What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids, an amazing array of over 6,000 different substances found in virtually all plants, are responsible for many of the plant colours that dazzle us with their brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. A number of factors may affect the flavonoid content of foods, including agricultural practices, environmental factors, ripening, processing, storing, and cooking. It’s best to consume this nutrient directly from foods as part of a varied diet, rather than via a dietary supplement, as the effectiveness of isolated flavonoids is unclear. Cooking, processing, and high acidity environments all reduce the amount of flavonoids in foods.
Higher intakes of flavonoid-rich foods have been associated with reduced risk of chronic disease in some studies, but it is not known whether isolated flavonoid supplements or extracts will confer the same benefits as flavonoid-rich foods.
Over the past decade, scientists have become increasingly interested in the potential for various dietary flavonoids to explain some of the health benefits associated with fruit- and vegetable-rich diets.
Although higher intakes of flavonoid-rich foods are associated with reductions in cardiovascular disease risk, it is not yet known whether flavonoids themselves are cardioprotective. Despite promising results in animal studies, it is not clear whether high flavonoid intakes can help prevent cancer in humans.
So don’t be fooled by actor Akshay Kumar antics of taking tea while dancing, pumping iron and bashing villains. You can get your dose of flavonoids from the humble spinach and the unloved baingan.