Apples and Quercetin « Health Now, Wealth Forever

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By Marilyn, on August 22nd, 2012

The saying  ”An apple a day keeps the doctor away” maybe truer than we realize.  I have rediscovered a book that I bought several years ago.  The author and the her colleagues at Prevention created this book, The Doctors Book of Food Remedies.  The book was published in 1998, so there have been some new findings too.  So, I am  giving some information that the book has brought to my attention with  some other newer information from the web.

Apples skin contains a flavonoid called quercetin. Yeager, author of the book above, claims “apples can help lower the risk of heart disease, prevent constipation, control diabetes and prevent cancer.”

When I looked this up on the web, this is what I found.

“Quercetin is an important member of a large group of plant compounds called flavonoids, once thought to be vitamins. Here are some of its potential benefits:

• This plant pigment is an antioxidant, and thus may help fight cell-damaging free radicals. (But like other antioxidants, it may also act as a pro-oxidant—that is, have the opposite effects and actually become a free radical—under some circumstances.)

• Lab studies suggest that it may have anti-cancer effects, help prevent heart disease by reducing the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and act as an antihistamine.

• Specifically, it may help treat or even prevent prostate cancer by blocking male hormones that encourage the growth of prostate cancer cells, according to preliminary laboratory research at the Mayo Clinic. In another study, men with an inflamed prostate (prostatitis) reported reduced urinary symptoms when they took quercetin.*

• Population studies have found that people with high intakes of foods containing quercetin and other flavonoids tend to have lower rates of heart disease and lung cancer.

• Several studies have linked a high intake of apples (rich in quercetin and other flavonoids) with improved lung function and a lower risk of certain respiratory diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.”

The important things to remember about eating apples for health are:  eat the apple with the skin because that is where the quercetin is; eat the apple not juice—it loses the quercetin and iron when juiced;  in my opinion, eat an organic apple (does not have the pesticides and programming of a perfect apple) and according to Yeager, eat an apple that browns easily because one that is bred to not brown easily are low in the good health benefits.

*“Second thoughts

That’s all promising, but it’s too early to recommend quercetin as a supplement. First of all, you have no idea what’s in the bottle you buy. There could be little or no quercetin, or excessive amounts. Quercetin absorption can vary, depending on its source. And no one knows what dose should be taken. There have been reports of supplements causing headaches and tingling in arms and legs. Most important, no one knows what long-term adverse effects high doses may have, or how they may interact with medication.”  (Wellness Letter from web noted above.)

Yeager, Selene.  The Doctors Book of Food Remedies.  Rodale Inc., Distributed by St. Martin’s Press, 1998.