Quercetin is a powerful flavonoid with a wide range of health benefits, including its ability to reduce inflammation, eliminate pain, protect against cardiovascular diseases, lower blood pressure, manage diabetes, prevent certain cancers, boost the immune system, and reduce irritation of the skin.
Introduction to Quercetin
Quercetin is a flavonoid, which means that it is a plant pigment that is similar in molecular structure to a flavone. It is also considered a very powerful antioxidant, and is typically the main component in the red and orange pigmentation in various fruits and vegetables. You can also find quercetin as a coloring agent in wine and various teas.
Quercetin is found in many different food sources in significant portions, most notably in capers, lovage, sorrel, dill, plums, dates, kale, cranberries, apples, sweet potatoes, blueberries, broccoli and many other commonly eaten foods. Since molecular research on organic components of food is relatively new, the research on quercetin continues, but there have already been many promising studies published that show this antioxidant flavonoid to be a big boost to your overall health. Let’s explore a bit more to see exactly how quercetin benefits our health!
Health Benefits of Quercetin
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Quercetin displays a number of anti-inflammatory properties, in a similar way that aspirin can reduce inflammation and associated pain. Quercetin inhibits certain chemical pathways from generating the inflammation. This makes quercetin able to reduce the pain of arthritis, gout, rheumatism, and the general inflammation that people suffer from colds, fevers, muscle aches, and strain.
Cardiovascular Health: A number of studies have shown quercetin being associated with a lower mortality rate and incidence of heart attack for test subjects who regularly ingested the antioxidant flavonoid. Most of this protective property seems to come from quercetin’s ability to reduce the amount of plaque in the blood vessels and arteries by eliminating LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad cholesterol”. Studies have connected reduced amounts of LDL cholesterol with a decrease in atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
Manage Diabetes: Quercetin has been shown to have various qualities of an aldose reductase inhibitor. Some of the problems that occur in diabetic patients are due to the sorbitol pathway, where high concentrations of glucose are changed into fructose and sorbitol. This can result in glaucoma, cataracts, and various neural complications. Quercetin is an aldose reductase inhibitor, so it prevents this massive transformation and helps to manage the problems diabetic patients often face.
Asthma: Quercetin functions as a bronchodilator, and reduces the amount of inflammatory or allergic reaction chemicals in the body. Therefore, quercetin can reduce the severity of asthma attacks that react to those chemicals, and also reduce various forms of congestion that are unrelated to asthma.
Cancer Prevention: Perhaps the most important aspect of quercetin is its great antioxidant activity. Quercetin, like other flavonoids, seek out free radicals in the body and neutralize them before they can damage the bodily systems. Most notably, antioxidants reduce the risk of cancer. Quercetin has been connected to a reduction in pancreatic, prostate, colorectal, and skin cancers. Studies are ongoing, but quercetin looks like one of the more important natural cancer fighters found in common foods.
Hypertension: Usually associated with cardiovascular health, hypertension affects millions of people around the world every year, and quercetin has shown the ability to lower blood pressure and eliminate the complications so often associated with that disease. As a vasodilating, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant substance, quercetin helps your heart health from a number of different angles.
Anti-Allergenic Quality: Quercetin is frequently used in allergy treatments, since antioxidants with structures similar to quercetin reduce the amount of histamines that are released when an allergenic pathway is stimulated. Reducing histamines means a reduced amount of symptoms, and quercetin has specifically been linked to reduced signs of eczema, hives, and hay fever.
A Few Words of Caution: There are no inherent dangers of quercetin, although some people have reported that excessive consumption of foods with quercetin has results in headaches, and tingling in the arms and legs. Extreme amounts can even result in kidney damage. Be responsible, consume a healthy amount, and enjoy your healthier life!