Quercetin: the fabulous flavonoid vital to life

By Mercedes Kay Gold, CNP, CPT

Fruits and vegetables are super foods, absolutely awesome for supporting living your best life inside and out. Eating a rainbow of produce, preferably raw or steamed, stockpiles every cell in the body with essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients for endless energy. The key to longevity is offsetting disease, and food is your first defense. A plant-based diet helps unlock nature’s medicine cabinet. Skip the shelves of processed foods and reach for the rainbow. The refrigerator should be overflowing with fresh garden goodness. Q is for quercetin, a flavonoid found in produce with one-of-a kind- properties, an all-important link to kick-start overall health.

Quercetin-type flavanols are widely distributed in plants. The bounty is boundless. From fruits to brassica vegetables to seeds and nuts and even flowers, the perfect match is waiting to transform your health. The highest amount is found in apples and onions. Humans cannot produce this fabulous flavonoid in the body and therefore adding quercetin-rich foods to daily food fare is imperative. People typically get between 5 and 40 milligrams daily through diet, but a plant-based menu is a fast-track to achieving the 300 to 1500 milligrams recommended from leading supplement brands. If supplementation works best, divide the dose for optimal results. Bioflavonoids are essential for the proper absorption of vitamin C. A diet rich in quercetin and vitamin C-rich foods cranks up the immune system, offsetting the cold and flu season.                                                                                                                                                                              

The benefits of quercetin are numerous. Unique properties may improve mental performance, which is noteworthy for those with concentration, cognitive and brain fog issues. Physical performance improvements are worth pointing out to weekend warriors and athletes. Modifying the diet may increase gains with training goals, as well as promote overall wellness naturally at any age. The key take-away is opting for natural support to help achieve fitness aspirations. Mother Nature knows best. Anti-inflammatory properties help support recovery post-exercise. Faster repair and recuperation mean a speedy turnaround to train harder and longer.

Quercetin is linked to stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis. In other words, the powerhouses of our cells or mitochondria can be regenerated for optimal energy. Energy equals living your best life.

Covid was eye-opening and left many people in fear. Quercetin benefits overall wellness and disease resistance. Eating a bevvy of foods rich in the fabulous flavonoid is anti-viral, fending off sickness. The anti-oxidant overload helps fight free radicals in the body. Quercetin-rich foods are the good-guys, little soldiers standing up against the enemy to support overall wellbeing. Quercetin also enhances the anti-viral activity of vitamin C and zinc. Whether you add these two in supplement form or power up on pumpkin seeds and citrus, quercetin works synergistically. The result is heaps of health benefits set in motion.

Quercetin is linked to regulating the histamine response, providing relief to day-to-day and seasonal allergies. Symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing and itchy throat and eyes my all be soothed with the addition of the flavonoid.

There is some scientific evidence to show that people with diets high in quercetin had lower cholesterol, improved heart health and reduced blood pressure.

More research is needed, but there appears to be a connection between quercetin and reduced symptoms of prostatitis.

The connection between cancer prevention, especially colon cancer and quercetin, shows promise in preliminary research. Plants are positively the best way to ensure overall health and longevity.

Quercetin may also provide relief to headache sufferers as it works in the same fashion as aspirin, inhibiting production of the molecules responsible for inflammation.

Eating a diet rich in plants is anti-inflammatory. Plants are alkaline, the opposite of meat alternatives, which increase inflammation due to acidity. Plants are easier to digest for most people, contain fibre and slews of cell-supporting nutrient must-haves. Plants are key to living a vibrant life. To thrive alive, aim for a minimum of seven cups daily. Ideally, you eat a wide variety of produce, picking new ones from near and far. Quercetin is found in many fabulous finds and if its not on the menu now, it should be!

Fruit is first up for quercetin. Reach for red when choosing cherries and grapes. All berries are a bounty of benefits with low sugar content and high fibre, but blueberries, blackberries and extraordinary eye-health boosting bilberry are exquisite sources of quercetin. Apples are an easy-peasy snack. Whether you dice, slice, chop or purée, apples are an awesome add-in for salads, smoothies, fresh-pressed juice, applesauce, or a nature’s sweetness in homemade baking.

Kale’s gorgeous green color is due to chlorophyll and reigns supreme, stocked with beta-carotene. Kale is superlative steamed or raw, making it stupendous in salads and spot-on in slew of soups. Lycopene, known for anti-cancer properties is one reason tomato sauce is so holistically helpful. To make the most of the ravishing red nightshade, choose organic. One study found that organic tomatoes were 79 per cent higher in quercetin than the common garden or hot house variety.

Bravo broccoli! It’s a steamed favorite of keto diet lovers thanks to the low carbohydrate content, high in vitamin C and yes, beloved quercetin, too.

 Capers are not particularly popular. but certainly deserve a standing ovation. However, throughout history they have been a culinary delight, dating back to Greece. The caper bush is common in Italy, Morocco, Turkey and Spain. Capers are flower buds, handpicked at the precise moment before they begin to open. Besides their fabulous flavor, slightly salty and sweet, they have crazy vitamin K content and of course quercetin. There is 234 mg of quercetin per 100 grams, a huge concentration.  Go caper crazy and start a top-notch trend. They are perfect on pizza, heavenly hummus toppers, flawless on fish, and complete a cream cheese and lox bagel.

Flu and cold season have arrived and this certified holistic nutritionist loves crawling under a blanket with a mug of magic: hot water, ginger, turmeric, garlic and the quercetin-rich dynamic duo of unpasteurized honey and lemons.

American elder better known as elderberry or sambucus has a long holistic history tied to healing. Rich in quercetin, elderberry has been used for addressing ailments as far back as 400 BC when Hippocrates referred to the elder tree as his “medicine chest.” Today it is a favorite among the natural health community for combatting a cold and flu. Eating fresh elderberries is first-rate. but syrups, capsules, tea, jam and juices are widely available.

 St John’s Wort is a popular wild plant whose active ingredient is said to relieve symptoms of depression and mood disorders. Before adding the yellow star, shaped flower power, please speak to your health practitioner. Although its rich in quercetin and readily available in many forms in North America, other countries are more conservative due to possible drug interactions and a prescription may be needed.  

Ginkgo biloba is referred to as an adaptogen in the world of natural healing. For centuries, it was sought after for vision and respiratory issues. Today it is well known for its ability to help the body cope with stress by countering high levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Snuggle up with a mug of quercetin-rich ginkgo biloba tea and reap the benefits.

Teetotaler or wine connoisseur? Both reap the body-boosting benefits of quercetin.  Quercetin is found in green, black and buckwheat tea, as well as red wine.

Eating clean, unprocessed foods provides nutrients to cells, clears out toxins and most importantly fuels fun. Quercetin-rich foods are one more tool to add to your ever-growing tool box. The best way to reap the benefits Mother Nature has to offer is to go big. Platefuls of produce prepared raw, steamed and roasted in a minimal of healthy fresh-pressed virgin olive, coconut or avocado oil plus fresh fruit and heaps of herbs. Avoid a food rut and rotate the love of quercetin-rich foods.

Supplementing with quercetin may change how antibiotics, cyclosporine, warfarin, or drugs that are changed by the liver. Always consult your MD, ND or health practitioner before adding supplements to your protocol. Mercedes Kay Gold is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Holistic Nutritionist who loves helping others live their best life when not spending time with her children and grandson, Theodore. She can be reached at mercedeskaygoldfitness@gmail.com or visit www.mercedeskaygold.com

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