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Keywords:

  • polyphenols;
  • obesity;
  • inflammation;
  • lipids;
  • hypertension;
  • diabetes

Increasing evidence indicates that several mechanisms, associated or not with antioxidant actions, are involved in the effects of flavonoids on health. Flavonoid-rich beverages, foods, and extracts, as well as pure flavonoids are studied for the prevention and/or amelioration of metabolic syndrome (MS) and MS-associated diseases. We summarize evidence linking flavonoid consumption with the risk factors defining MS: obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance. Nevertheless, a number of molecular mechanisms have been identified; the effects of flavonoids modifying major endpoints of MS are still inconclusive. These difficulties are explained by the complex relationships among the risk factors defining MS, the multiple biological targets controlling these risk factors, and the high number of flavonoids (including their metabolites) present in the diet and potentially responsible for the in vivo effects. Consequently, extensive basic and clinical research is warranted to assess the final relevance of flavonoids for MS.