What are flavonoids and why are they important? These are questions I have been asked recently by a caller who suggested this topic for my column.

They are many bonuses to working as a Health and Human Sciences educator at Purdue Extension. One being that I am always learning. We all hear a lot about flavonoids and antioxidants when it comes to healthy eating. So what are they? They are a large family of over 5,000 polyphenolic compounds that carry out important functions in plants, including attracting pollinating insects, combating environmental stresses (such as microbial infections) and regulating cell growth. This sounds complicated to me!

Mary Ann Lienhart Cross is health and human sciences educator with Purdue Extension Elkhart County. She can be reached at 574-533-0554 or


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