Abstract

Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables, in addition to beverages such as tea and coffee. Flavonoids are emerging as potent therapeutic agents for cardiovascular as well as metabolic diseases. Several studies corroborated an inverse relationship between flavonoid consumption and cardiovascular disease (CVD) or adipose tissue inflammation (ATI). Flavonoids exert their anti-atherogenic effects by increasing nitric oxide (NO), reducing reactive oxygen species (ROS), and decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, flavonoids alleviate ATI by decreasing triglyceride and cholesterol levels, as well as by attenuating inflammatory mediators. Furthermore, flavonoids inhibit synthesis of fatty acids and promote their oxidation. In this review, we discuss the effect of the main classes of flavonoids, namely flavones, flavonols, flavanols, flavanones, anthocyanins, and isoflavones, on atherosclerosis and ATI. In addition, we dissect the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of action for these flavonoids. We conclude by supporting the potential benefit for flavonoids in the management or treatment of CVD; yet, we call for more robust clinical studies for safety and pharmacokinetic values.

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