Fresh Clips: Bioflavonoids are What Mother Knows Best

| June/July 2008

Seems like science finally is catching up with what mother always knew: “If you want to be strong, you’d better eat your fruits and vegetables.” Bioflavonoids (generally, plant pigment compounds) are widely associated with reducing risk for cardiovascular disease, cancers, metabolic syndrome and a host of other ailments.

In the past, scientific research focused on finding a single compound or group of compounds responsible for good health. Turns out, the sum of the parts probably is more beneficial than the active ingredients alone, according to recent research conducted by Mary Ann Lila, Ph.D., at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lila writes, “Many people don’t fully appreciate that it is not a single component in these plant-derived foods, but rather the complex mixtures of interacting natural chemicals, that produce such powerful health benefits." Lila’s lab has identified synergies of plant compounds that enhance their effectiveness in preventing and treating disease.

So rather than popping dried bilberry fruits in tablet form, why not enjoy some bilberry jam on a slice of bread? Better health benefits … and better flavor.

Steven Foster is an author, photographer and consultant, specializing in medicinal plants.

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