Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 113-122

First online:

Flavonoids in Food and Their Health Benefits

  • L. H. YAOAffiliated withSouth China Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of SciencesFood Research Center, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • , Y. M. JIANGAffiliated withSouth China Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences Email author 
  • , J. SHIAffiliated withFood Research Center, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • , F. A. TOMÁS-BARBERÁNAffiliated withLaboratorio de Fitoquímica, Department of Food Science and Technology
  • , N. DATTAAffiliated withFood Science and Technology, School of Land and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland
  • , R. SINGANUSONGAffiliated withDepartment of Agro-Industry, Faculty of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Naresuan University
  • , S. S. CHENAffiliated withImperial Flavours Inc.

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There has been increasing interest in the research of flavonoids from dietary sources, due to growing evidence of the versatile health benefits of flavonoids through epidemiological studies. As occurrence of flavonoids is directly associated with human daily dietary intake of antioxidants, it is important to evaluate flavonoid sources in food. Fruits and vegetables are the main dietary sources of flavonoids for humans, along with tea and wine. However, there is still difficulty in accurately measuring the daily intake of flavonoids because of the complexity of existence of flavonoids from various food sources, the diversity of dietary culture, and the occurrence of a large amount of flavonoids itself in nature. Nevertheless, research on the health aspects of flavonoids for humans is expanding rapidly. Many flavonoids are shown to have antioxidative activity, free-radical scavenging capacity, coronary heart disease prevention, and anticancer activity, while some flavonoids exhibit potential for anti–human immunodeficiency virus functions. As such research progresses, further achievements will undoubtedly lead to a new era of flavonoids in either foods or pharmaceutical supplements. Accordingly, an appropriate model for a precise assessment of intake of flavonoids needs to be developed.

Most recent research has focused on the health aspects of flavonoids from food sources for humans. This paper reviews the current advances in flavonoids in food, with emphasis on health aspects on the basis of the published literature, which may provide some guidance for researchers in further investigations and for industries in developing practical health agents.

Dietary source Flavonoid Health benefit Intake Level Structure