A new age has dawned on the world of food. More and more, will you find chefs on TV and in magazines explaining what foods will give you the most nutrition and it’s fantastic! Influential chefs are taking their knowledge of food and sharing it with the world to help us eat better and live healthier lifestyles.
Ushered in with this new era of taking care of what goes into our bodies is a word too commonly used: superfoods. I say, “too commonly used” because on almost every healthy eating website you’ll find it used to describe almost every ingredient. At that point it kind of loses its meaning, but it also isn’t really ever explained.
I mean, technically pizza is a superfood because it’s a food that makes me feel super.
Of course, this isn’t what superfood means; and please don’t go around telling people pizza is a superfood (it’s not). So what exactly makes a superfood a superfood? The answer to that is quite simple: Quercetin.
What Is Quercetin?
Quercetin puts the super in superfoods. This powerful flavonoid is part of what gives fruit and vegetables their vibrant colors. If you’ve read our articles enough, you’ll know that where there are colors, there are antioxidants.
Quercetin is a type of antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body. When free radicals begin forming in the body they become hard to stop. Free radicals for in a “chain reaction” type of way.
When the bond between electrons is weak in a molecule, they split and become unstable. Looking to stabilize itself, the free radical will “steal” an electron from other molecules. When there are an uneven amount of electrons, it becomes a cycle of never ending free radical forming.
When too many free radicals form it can lead to cell damage and failure.
Luckily, antioxidants like quercetin can help fight against the formation of these free radicals by making sure all molecules are strong and stable. In addition, having healthy cells can prevent numerous diseases and ailments.
Because quercetin protects cells, it also helps to control histamine in the body. Histamine is a compound that is released as a natural reaction to bodily injuries and allergies. In controlling the amount of histamine being released, quercetin can be a natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine.
As a result, it has been suggested in test tube studies that quercetin can help prevent and alleviate those annoying allergy symptoms like runny noses, lip swelling, watery eyes and hives. However, more human testing has to be done before this remedy gets our seal of approval as an antihistamine for allergic reactions.
What we do know is that quercetin can help prevent heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol and cancer. Scientists have long held the belief that flavonoids like quercetin are a crucial part of cancer prevention.1 Quercetin has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells in breasts, prostates, lungs and ovaries.
Quercetin for Healthy Eyes
In addition to the health benefits listed above, quercetin is also a great way to enhance your vision and prevent cataracts from forming. This isn’t an antioxidant you want to skip… unless you want cataracts, but we have a feeling no one wants that.
Tests done in Japan on humans suggest that quercetin works especially hard to protect the retina of the eye. The retina is the part of the eye that allows us to see in wonderfully natural Technicolor. By keeping the retina protected and healthy, quercetin helps to promote clear and sharp vision.
In animals, quercetin seems to promote clarity of the lens, which is great news for those suffering from cataracts. Cataracts are the result of a protein buildup on the lens of the eye and causes blurred and sometimes loss of central vision.
Quercetin also has a certain effect on an enzyme called aldose reductase. This enzyme is often found in diabetic eyes. In the eye it can be found in the lens, cornea and retina. When aldose reductase builds up in the eye, it creates cloudy vision.
Quercetin is known to curb the buildup of aldose reductase in the lens, keeping it clear and unclouded. Diabetics, don’t forget to get this super antioxidant into your diet!
Where Is Quercetin Found?
Quercetin is found mostly in plants and plant based foods. It is also found in some beverages that use quercetin. Introduce quercetin into your diet by either eating quercetin rich foods or by ingesting a supplement!
Quercetin supplements are easy to find, but they can be a little pricey. Supplements for this antioxidant can range anywhere from $11 to $70! Often supplements are sold as capsules and are taken once to twice a day, depending on your needs. For example, people with pains may take it twice a day. Check with your doctor to figure out the proper dosage for you.
If that’s too much of a hassle, check out of version of the quercetin supplement. Our Ocu-Plus supplements come with only the best eye vitamin and nutrients. No need to measure out your dosage, we’ve done the work for you!
Quercetin is naturally found in foods and plants, so why not take advantage of that? We all have to eat anyway that we might as well get the most nutrition out of our favorite foods!
Luckily quercetin can be found in so many delicious and easy foods. We say easy because quercetin rich foods can often be eaten raw and as a healthy midday snack! They’re also common foods that can be found at any grocery store.
Here are our top picks:
- Berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries, etc.)
- Capers (tip: stir them into your favorite pasta dish)
- Red wine (for after those long days at the office)
Quercetin is often overlooked, but it is an essential antioxidant to keeping your eyes healthy. Diabetics would especially benefit from quercetin as it helps with diabetic related eye conditions.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t benefit from the health properties of quercetin. The more nutrients we can get, the better. So load up on apples and cherries and enjoy!