The Antioxidant Properties of Greek Foods and the Flavonoid Content of the Mediterranean Menu

Author(s): E. Vasilopoulou, K. Georga, M. Bjoerkov Joergensen, A. Naska, A. Trichopoulou

Journal Name: Current Medicinal Chemistry - Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic Agents
Continued as Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic Agents in Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 5 , Issue 1 , 2005


The Mediterranean diet is currently attracting interest because of its health benefits that may be due, in part, to the high content of this diet in antioxidant phytochemicals. The variety and amount of phytochemicals taken with the consumption of primary and composite foods of the Mediterranean diet may provide better antiatherogenic properties than single phytochemicals. Flavonoids are the most important group of plant antioxidants. The Mediterranean diet is characterized by high intake of olive oil, fruit, vegetables, cereals, and legumes, some of which are good sources of flavonoids. Flavonoids consist of six principal classes: flavones, flavonols, flavan-3-ols, flavanones, anthocyanidins and isoflavones. The flavonoid intake from a traditional Greek plant-based weekly menu was calculated and the daily average flavonoid intake was found 118.6 mg / d, of which flavanones contribute 32% (38.5 mg / d), catechins (the most important group of flavan-3-ols) contribute 28% (32.7 mg / d), flavonols 22% (26.4 mg / d), anthocyanidins 9% (11 mg / d), flavones 8% (8.7 mg / d) and isoflavones contribute 1% (1.3 mg / d). Herbs and spices, which are commonly used in the traditional Greek cuisine, although added in small quantities, significantly contribute to the flavonol and flavone intake due to frequent consumption. The Greek version of the Mediterranean diet with its high consumption of fruit and vegetables is characterized by high intake of flavonoids in comparison to diets in northern European countries.

Keywords: mediterranean diet, flavonoids, flavones, flavonols, flavan-3-ols, flavanones, anthocyanidins, isoflavones

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Article Details

Year: 2005
Page: [33 - 45]
Pages: 13
DOI: 10.2174/1568013053005508

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PDF: 15