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Benefits of a Quercetin-Rich Diet

Submitted by on May 9, 2011 – 11:34 am | 1,983 views

There is little doubt that a Westernized diet–often high in fat, cholesterol, and sugar–contributes to a variety of diseases, prominently obesity and cardiovascular disease. An increase in fresh fruit and vegetable consumption could reduce the risk of these diseases. Both fruits and vegetables contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin–like all antioxidants–hunts for damaging particles in the body called free radicals; quercetin then neutralizes the free radicals and reduces or even prevents the damage from happening. Previous studies have found that quercetin may reduce the severity of allergies and asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, prostatitis, and hypertension; it may also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Kobori et al. in Japan investigated the effect of a quercetin-rich diet on obesity and dysregulated hepatic (liver) gene expression in mice. For 20 weeks, the mice received a Western diet (high in fat, cholesterol, and sugar) or a control diet daily; both were with or without 0.05% quercetin. After eight weeks of a Western diet with quercetin, the mice had improvements in triglyceride levels (chemical form of fat), oxidative stress (free radical damage), glutathione levels (an antioxidant), and part of the hepatic gene expression that is involved in the regulation of metabolism and inflammation.