When it comes to small compounds that can make a big difference in your body, one antioxidant seems to punch well above its weight. Quercetin is not only the pigment that gives so many foods their red, orange, and yellow hue, but it also has a wide variety of potential health benefits that show tons of promise.
What is quercetin?
Its name might look a little funny, but quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body with so many different functions. Because it’s able to fight cell-damaging free radicals, which distort cells and accelerate aging, it’s critical in reducing inflammation, rejuvenating dying cells, and lowering the risk of diseases like cancer. In fact, early studies have found that quercetin didn’t just slow cancerous cell growth but killed those cells altogether.
Moreover, research has shown that the compound is able to relax blood vessels and decrease blood pressure in the process, while also getting rid of signs of cognitive decline. Scientists say they still need to study quercetin more, but they believe it could play a role in slowing and potentially even reversing Alzheimer’s.
What are its side effects?
Generally, quercetin’s side effects are very mild and usually involve headaches or tingling in your arms or legs. So far, most research has found that taking between 500 to 1,000 milligrams a day is safe.
How should you take it?
Quercetin can be found naturally in foods like peppers, onions, cherries, red apples, tomatoes, broccoli, and kale. However, it also comes in a much more concentrated form in oral capsules (Buy on Amazon, $19.99).
The supplement has a low bioavailability though, which means that it’s not always entirely absorbed on its own by the body. That’s why you’ll often see it mixed with other vitamins, minerals, and compounds to make that absorption process easier. The most common ones are vitamin C, bromelain, resveratrol, genistein, and catechin. Just make sure you talk to your doctor first before you start using it, especially if you’re on other antioxidant or blood pressure medications!
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.