Bioflavonoids are naturally occurring plant compounds, typically plant pigments or antioxidants. Bioflavonoids play an important role in the body, helping to counter the damage wrought by free radicals.
Collectively, bioflavonoids used to be known as vitamin P; eventually they lost their "vitamin" designation, as a shortage of any one of them in the diet does not lead to any particular health problem. However, they are clearly of great benefit to the body.
Some of the most important flavonoids include citrin, hesperidin, quercetin and rutin. In the body, bioflavonoids work to complement vitamin C. They are found naturally in many foods, but the highest concentrations of bioflavonoids tend to be in foods also high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits.
Bioflavonoids have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties as well as antioxidant powers, so they are thought to be very helpful in preventing numerous diseases and conditions. Research is underway into how bioflavonoids might improve kidney function, particularly in diabetics.
It's thought that bioflavonoids can also improve insulin resistance, reduce blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
Apart from citrus fruits, spinach, peppers, broccoli, garlic and green tea are also excellent sources of bioflavonoids in the diet. When taken as a supplement, typically in capsule or tablet form, bioflavonoids are often paired with vitamin C in order to maximise their potential.