Flavonoids are a group of chemical compounds naturally found in certain fruits, vegetables, teas, wines, nuts, seeds, and roots. Although not considered vitamins, flavonoids have a number of nutritional functions have been described as biological response modifiers; most act as antioxidants, and some have anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoids have been shown to prevent or slow the development of some cancers.
Cocoa, particularly dark chocolate, is loaded with the flavonoid Epicatechin and has been found to have nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times those found in green tea. The Epicatechin improves blood flow and thus good for cardiac health.
Flavonoids are usually subdivided into 5 subgroups:
- Flavonols: Quercetin, Kaempferol, Myricetin, Isorhamnetin
- Flavones: Luteolin, Apigenin
- Flavanones: Hesperetin, Naringenin, Eriodictyol
- Flavan-3-ols: (+)-Catechin, (+)-Gallocatechin, (-)-Epicatechin, (-)-*Epigallocatechin, (-)-Epicatechin 3-gallate, (-)-Epigallocatechin 3-gallate, Theaflavin, Theaflavin 3-gallate, Theaflavin 3'-gallate, Theaflavin 3,3' digallate, Thearubigins
- Anthocyanidins: Cyanidin, Delphinidin, Malvidin, Pelargonidin, Peonidin, Petunidin
- USDA Database of Flavonoid content of food (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/Flav/flav.pdf) (pdf)
- Flavonoids (chemistry) (http://www.friedli.com/herbs/phytochem/flavonoids.html)
- Cornell news on Cocoa (http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Nov03/HotCocoa-Lee.bpf.html)
- A Dark Chocolate a Day Keeps the Doctor Away (http://my.webmd.com/content/article/88/99702.htm)