Flavanoids are organic compounds normally associated with plant pigments which are abundant in plant derived foods in our diet; the three most important and notable sources of flavonoids are tea, wine and beer. Many studies have suggested that diets with a high content of fruit and vegetables are beneficial to health and that the flavonoid compounds could be the ‘active’ component which leads to this health benefit.
This hypothesis has been supported in laboratory trials where flavanoids have shown a range of positive effects, including antioxidant activity. Unfortunately, more recent work from human trials has not produced clear evidence that flavonoids are beneficial to health, and so this research has yet to be generally accepted.
However, there is a lot of interest in flavonoids boosting antioxidant levels in the diet. Currently being debated is the fact that each type of flavonoid will have a different biological activity –future research is likely to focus on quality as much as quantity. This should be interesting in terms of beer as the presence of flavonoids in beer is due to the malt and hops. As such, the amount of flavonoids present depends on the type of hops used and the style of beer. It’s a case of ‘watch this space’.
- W Bai 1013 Intakes of total & individual flavonoids by US adults. Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr.