You’ve probably heard the word flavonoids and know that your diet is supposed to include these ingredients, but you might not know what benefits flavonoids have. Adding foods rich in flavonoids to your diet is remarkably easy when you know what foods to add. Below, check out two of the greatest sources of flavonoids and how you can include them in your diet.
What are Flavonoids and What are Their Benefits?
Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds that contain antioxidant powers and that are found in plants. The antioxidants help to protect your body from dangerous free radicals, which is helpful because free radical damage can increase your risk of heart disease by raising your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. There are also flavonoids that can decrease dangerous inflammation in your arteries, which helps to prevent heart disease, particularly atherosclerosis. Research from Cornell University has shown that extract from onions, which are incredibly rich in flavonoids, has provided strong antiproliferative effects against both liver and colon cancer cells.
Why Parsley and Onions?
Most people, if they are familiar with flavonoids, associate these compounds with foods such as berries, dark chocolate and red wine. While all of those contain flavonoids, they aren’t the only dietary sources available. Parsley and onions are two incredible sources of flavonoids to add to your diet.
- Parsley – Both the leaves and stems of the parsley plant contain flavonoids. Parsley is especially rich in a flavonoid known as luteolin, which is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoid. Luteolin helps to suppress inflammation from arthritis and other painful conditions. Research that was published in “Molecules” indicated that another flavonoid in parsley, myristicin, inhibited the production of several inflammatory compounds by cultured immune cells, however, these results have yet to be proven to be effective in humans.
- Onions – When it comes to flavonoid content, not all onions are created equal. According to a 2004 article published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, western yellow onions were ranked highest in overall flavonoid content. Red onions, which are also popular in the United States, ranked fourth for flavonoid content. When it comes to receiving the full flavonoid content, try to remove as little of the outermost layer of onions as possible, because over-peeling leads to flavonoid loss.
How to Incorporate Parsley and Onions Into Your Diet
One of the greatest things about parsley and onions is how versatile they are; you can really add them to about any dish you can think of. For breakfast, try a spinach, onion and bell pepper omelet topped off with some freshly chopped parsley. When it comes to lunch and dinner, you can create tons of quick salads using onions and parsley. One of our favorites is the tomato, sweet onion and parsley salad.
To make this salad, you’ll need a cup and a half of grape tomatoes, ½ cup of thinly sliced onions, ½ cup of fresh chopped parsley and two tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese. You can make your own dressing by whisking together one and a half teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, one teaspoon of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Eating well not only makes your body feel good, but it improves your internal health. Flavonoids are excellent at fighting free radical damage, decreasing the risk of heart disease and potentially fighting cancer, and you can get a ton of flavonoids by adding parsley and onions to your diet.