Flavonoids are a group of pigmented antioxidants that give plants their colorful hue and improve their nutrition benefits at the same time. Chocolate, beans, greens, and leafy greens are all great examples of foods high in some types of flavonoids. One specific antioxidant that is gaining more attention today is the flavonoid known as quercetin. You may have heard of its benefits for allergies and inflammation, but it has other benefits that make it worth paying more attention to. Like other antioxidants, quercetin reduces free radicals in the body to fight off invaders that harm the immune system. It also supports the body’s overall health needs and can prevent serious forms of disease when combined with an overall healthy diet. Check out why this antioxidant is one you don’t want to miss out on!
Why Quercetin is Important for Our Health
Quercertin prevents the body’s immune system from releasing histamines that cause an allergic response in the body. Many foods, along with seasonal changes, can all raise histamine levels in the body that trigger itching, sneezing, watery eyes, a runny nose, fatigue and even rashes all associated with allergies.
Fights High Cholesterol
Quercetin also prevents atherosclerosis (plaque build up in arteries) that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and obesity. Taking care of your cholesterol is key to preventing heart disease, the number one cause of death in our society today. Though a plant-based diet largely contributes to a healthier heart and cholesterol levels, making sure you take in enough antioxidant-rich foods and healthy fats that reduce cholesterol is also important.
All flavonoids, including quercetin, have shown promise through research to prevent the growth of cancer cells in tumors associated with colon, prostate, endometrial, breast, ovarian and lung cancer. A whole foods plant-based diet is naturally rich in properties that fight cancer, and most of the common foods eaten in the diet are simultaneously great sources of quercetin, along with other flavonoids such as catechins and resveratrol.
Inflammation associated with arthritis and general joint pain can also be reduced with a diet high in quercetin-rich foods. This is due to the effects it has on the immune system, which can attack synovial membrane in the joints that leads to joint pain and inflammation. Eating raw foods that are rich in quercetin is one of the most natural ways to try improving your joint health without needing over the counter drugs that might lead to further inflammation later on.
Protects Your Bones
Quercetin has also been shown to prevent the loss of cartilage, so it’s helpful for keeping your bones strong and healthy for the long-haul. If you’re concerned about bone loss or bone weakness, add more plant-based sources of calcium and antioxidant-rich foods to your diet to keep your body strong naturally.
Where to Find Quercetin and How to Improve Your Uptake:
Quercetin is rich in the raw form of the following foods: apples, berries, citrus fruits, onions, tea, grapes, red wine, sage, dark cherries, olives and olive oil. You can also take a natural supplement, though food sources are normally what has been shown to provide effects through research studies. It’s also been shown that quercetin is better absorbed with enzyme rich foods such as lemons, papaya, pineapple, or even enzyme supplements. If you choose to take a quercetin supplement, generally 200- 500 mcg (micrograms) is enough to provide results. Keep in mind less is more, since high doses may cause kidney damage from supplements (though this has not been shown to be a concern with quercetin-rich foods).
Here are some quercetin-rich recipes to try:
Check out more of our recipes and add a quercetin-rich food to your meals a few times a day. Not only do they taste great, but also make you feel pretty awesome at the same time!
Lead Image Source: Cinnamon Vanilla Apple Chips