When most people think of the term “nutrition,” they tend to envision vitamins and minerals. In reality, though, nutrition is so much more than that. Nutrition is an incredibly broad category that encompasses everything from what we eat to how often we eat it, as well as different food groups and how our bodies process the nutrients from those foods. In fact, there are thousands of unique compounds in food known as phytonutrients — non-essential plant chemicals with beneficial properties. These are not only important for general health but also for specific bodily functions such as the production of enzymes or hormones. One such beneficial plant chemical found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices is quercetin.
What is Quercetin?
Quercetin is a naturally occurring flavonoid found in certain foods like apples, onions, tea, grapes, and red wine. It belongs to a family of plant-based antioxidants known as flavonoids that have various health-promoting properties. Quercetin is obtained from the aglycone form of the chemical, with glycosylated forms being found in nature. This compound is one of the most common flavonoids in the human diet and is found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Quercetin is the most abundant dietary flavonoid in the Western diet, with an average daily intake ranging anywhere between 1 and 5 grams.
Why is Quercetin Good for the Liver?
There are a variety of ways in which quercetin intake affects the liver. One of the most important ways is that quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that protects the liver from oxidative stress. However, quercetin also has additional benefits for the liver. Quercetin is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that can help reduce the symptoms of inflammatory liver diseases like fatty liver disease or hepatitis. Quercetin also has benefits for liver detoxification. It can help the liver to clear toxins from the body by stimulating enzymes that break down toxins. Quercetin also has benefits for general liver health. It can help support liver function by boosting the production of certain liver proteins and enzymes. In addition, quercetin may help prevent the development of liver disorders like fatty liver or liver damage due to alcohol consumption.
How to Get More Quercetin in Your Diet
If you want to reap the benefits of quercetin, it’s important to get enough of it in your diet. This can be challenging, however, since quercetin is typically not found in large quantities in any one food. For this reason, researchers have suggested consuming a variety of foods rich in quercetin to reap the greatest nutritional benefits from this phytonutrient. Some of these foods include apples, red onions, blueberries, grapefruit, green tea, and black tea. The best way to get the most out of quercetin is to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and spices.
How Quercetin Helps the Liver Regenerate
As we grow older, the liver naturally loses some of its functionality. This is normal and expected, but some people experience this decline sooner than others. This can significantly reduce the quality of life, especially when it comes to the liver. Two main factors contribute to the decline of liver regeneration in older adults: reduced ability to regenerate liver cells and reduced numbers of progenitor cells. Quercetin, however, helps to support liver regeneration by increasing the presence of progenitor cells. This means that quercetin may help to slow down the decline of liver regeneration in older adults.
Benefits of Quercetin for Skin and Hair
Quercetin has numerous benefits for skin and hair, including reducing the appearance of acne, preventing sun damage, and promoting healthy hair growth. For acne, quercetin has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of acne lesions in patients by inhibiting the release of sebum, the oil that clogs pores. This same mechanism prevents sun damage by blocking the release of free radicals caused by UV exposure. Quercetin may also help prevent hair loss by promoting hair growth by as much as 50% in some studies.
Quercetin is a powerful plant chemical that is abundant in many types of fruits and vegetables. It is a natural antioxidant, and it has many health benefits. Quercetin has been shown to support liver health and liver regeneration, help prevent sun damage, help prevent acne breakouts, promote healthy hair growth, and more. If you want to keep your liver healthy and function at its best, be sure to include quercetin-rich foods in your diet, or start taking a quercetin supplement. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water too!