Flavonoids encompass a wide group of antioxidants, including bioflavonoids and flavanols. Bioflavonoids are usually found in the pulp and rind of citrus fruit. They have weak, estrogen-like properties, and have also been shown to interfere with the production of estrogen by binding to estrogen receptor sites. In this way, bioflavonoids work to normalize estrogen levels, bringing excessively high estrogen down to more normal levels.
Because bioflavonoids do bind to estrogen receptor sites, they can also act as a supplemental form of estrogen, helping to combat common menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
Flavanols, namely polyphenols and catechins, also bind to receptor sites, which is why they have been found to be so beneficial in protecting women from cancer. By binding to breast tissue estrogen receptors sites, polyphenols work to prevent carcinogens (tumor promoters, hormones, and growth factors) from binding to and harming the cells. In essence, the polyphenols “seal off” the tissue from invasion by carcinogens.
The superior antioxidant properties of polyphenols also help in the fight against heart attacks and other forms of cardiovascular disease. Japanese researchers have found that tablets of green tea extract providing 254 mg of catechins raised blood levels of antioxidants and reduced plaque-forming oxidation.
Foods rich in bioflavonoids include citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, and limes) and buckwheat (a gluten-free grain that is not botanically related to wheat). Other good sources are apricots, cherries, grapes, plums, blackberries, papayas, green pepper, broccoli, and tomatoes. Foods rich in flavanols include green tea, apples, grapes, and onions.
For more information on estrogen dominance or natural treatments for menopause symptoms, visit Dr. Larks Web site.