What are bioflavonoids? - How can they help lymphoedema and lipoedema?
Bioflavonoids are a group of natural substances that are necessary in various quantities for our body to function, stimulating the immune system, decreasing inflammation, improving the uptake of fluid by the lymphatic system and decreasing the amount of fluid leaking in the tissue. They are mainly found in fruit and vegetables and also tea and red wine. Well no wonder since grapes, particularly red grapes are high in these micronutrients, although I would limit its consumption because alcohol can also increase swelling.
Let's look more closely how bioflavonoids can help lymphoedema and lipoedema. The immune system filters the lymph fluid carrying metabolic wastes as they circulate through the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes shed immune cells that disperse through the system in search of virus, bacteria, even cancer cells to destroy. Therefore, stimulating the immune system makes sense. The tissue containing extra fluid or fat deposits have a chronic low grade inflammation and can be sensitive to the touch. Studies have found that bioflavonoids can be used for chronic pain management (6). They also have an influence in chronic oedema because they can help regenerate the interior wall of the lymphatic capillaries resulting in the increase of uptake of fluid and others can affect the permeability of the blood vessels and reduce leakage of fluid in the tissue. (3)
The best way to obtain a variety of flavonoids in your diet is to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables. Purple fruit and vegetables seems to be higher in the amount of bioflavonoids and particularly anthocyanins which give them their purple colour. Some studies mention that that they have a protective effect against cancer and particularly lung cancer (6). Grapes are all healthy to eat and are particularly beneficial for vegetarian people (2). Kale, broccoli, mushroom, ginger, purple fruit are packed with antioxidants. Broccoli, citrus, red and yellow onion are rich in quercetin, which help the immune system activation. (1)
Add some melon and banana to your breakfast, some salad in your sandwich, eat an apple for desert, steam your veges for dinner. It does not mean that you are on a diet. This little change can add color and vitality to your life and remove guilty pleasures. An added bonus is the satisfaction to support your local fruit and vegetable market.
(1) WebMD. (2019, May). Retrieved from What foods are high in flavonoids?: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/qa/what-foods-are-high-in-bioflavonoids
(2) Szalay, J. (2016, April 28). Live Science. Retrieved from Grapes: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts: https://www.livescience.com/54581-grapes-nutrition.html
(3) Khir, A. S. (2013). PubMed.gov. Retrieved from Abstract: [Mechanisms of antioedemic effect of bioflavonoids in experiment]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23863788/
(4) Elder, J. (n.d.). The NewDaily. Retrieved from Cheers to Flavanoids: These health food mostly benefit smokers and drinkers: https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/wellbeing/2019/09/08/health-foods-for-smokers-drinkers/
(5) Lipoedema. (2016, September 02). Retrieved from BIOFLAVANOIDS ARE CRUCIAL IN FIGHTING INFLAMMATION IN OUR LIPOEDEMA BODIES: https://www.talklipoedema.org/blog/2016/9/2/bioflavanoids-are-crucial-in-fighting-inflammation-in-our-lipoedema-bodies
WebMD. (2005-2020). Retrieved from Top Food high in Flavanoids: https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-flavonoids#1
(7) Rhone, N. (2020, October 16). 10 food this nutritionist eats to fight inflammation. Retrieved from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/anti-inflammatory-food-list#mushrooms