Although there are no clear indications for specific recommendations on the amount of flavonoids to consume on a regular basis, there is growing agreement that these bioactive compounds have beneficial effects on chronic diseases.
Tea, for example, contributes to attenuate the inflammatory process in atherosclerosis, reducing thrombosis and promoting normal endothelial function and blocking expression of cellular adhesion molecules. Cocoa and chocolate, rich in flavonoid content, have a powerful antioxidant effect. Dark chocolate has been proven to be effective in lowering C reactive protein blood levels, a marker of inflammation linked to increased cardiovascular risk (Di Giuseppe R, 2009) and to lower blood pressure (Desch S, 2010). A recent metanalysis (Hooper L, 2008) conducted on more than 30 studies showed that chocolate increased flow-mediated dilatation and reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure while soy protein isolate significantly reduced diastolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol whereas green tea reduced LDL cholesterol. Studies conducted in the framework of the Flora project highlighted the protective effect of anthocyanin-enriched food in animal models. High anthocyanins content tomatoes, produced by European researchers from the Flora study, were proven able to extend lifespan in cancer-prone mice (Butelli, 2008); within the Flora project, researchers found also that the size of the infarct was significantly reduced in rats fed anthocyanin-rich corn (Toufektsian, 2007).