You’ve probably never heard anybody talk about the importance of the elusive and little-known vitamin P. But that doesn’t mean it’s not vitally important to your health.
Vitamin P, more commonly known as flavonoids, is a byproduct of plant metabolism that was discovered in the 1930s. There are 6,000 different varieties of it (which isn’t terribly surprising, since there are so many different types of plants), and yet many people have not heard of this vitamin and are not getting enough of it in their diets.
Whether you prefer to call it vitamin P or the better-known name “flavonoids,” you definitely need to be getting this nutrient. It provides a valuable boost to your immune system and circulation, which can protect you from all sorts of diseases and keep you healthy and happy. It can help manage your diabetes and stave off cancer and heart disease. It also reduces your blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as your risk for a stroke or heart attack.
Vitamin P has other useful properties too, such as boosting the body’s production of collagen to give the skin a healthy glow. Collagen also serves to strengthen the tendons, ligaments, bones, teeth, and muscles.
“In lab-based studies, they appear to have many potentially helpful biological effects such as being anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, but more research needs to be done before firm conclusions can be made,” says dietitian Helen Bond.
A specific flavonol known as anthocyanin is of particular interest to researchers looking for a way to cure diabetes. Anthocyanin is found in raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and other blue and red fruits, and it appears to have a positive impact on carbohydrate digestion, limiting the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
You can always take a supplement to get more vitamin P into your body, but there are also more natural ways to get this vital nutrient into your diet, specifically by consuming fruits and vegetables.
Flavonoids are present in many fruits and vegetables for the purpose of protecting them against invading bacteria and fungi. You can find high concentrations of this nutrient in citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, or oranges, as well as blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Black tea also contains flavonoids called catechin and quercetin, which combat the stiffening of the arteries and promote heart health.
Are you getting your daily vitamin P dose? What do you do to make sure you get enough flavonoids and other nutrients? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?