Quercetin: An Anti-inflammatory and histamine Lowering Flavonoid


The old adage eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away, has some truth to it. Apples are not only a delicious fall favorite, but are also rich sources of vitamin C and this weeks featured flavonoid - quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid with high antioxidant action and also acts as a mast cell stabilizing compound.  Not an apple person?  Other food sources with high levels of quercetin are berries, grapes and onion.  

What is a mast cell stabilizing compound and why should we want to eat bioflavonoid heavy foods?  Some individuals with histamine intolerance or mast cell activation syndrome have overactive mast cells which can increase a variety of symptoms that are affected by the release of histamine and inflammatory molecules. Symptoms can include allergies, eczema, atopic dermatitis, interstitial cystitis, migraines, flushing, acid reflux, and diarrhea among many other possible symptoms.

Flavonoids have been shown to prevent some allergies and reduce allergy symptoms.(1)  For histamine intolerant individuals, quercetin has been found to stabilize mast cells and lower histamine, prostaglandins and cytokine release, equal to, if not better than, the common mast cell stabilizing medication called cromolyn sodium (a commonly prescribed medication for individuals with mast cell activation syndrome).(1)  Quercetin works as an anti-inflammatory compound by reducing release of inflammatory enzymes cyclooxyrgenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX).(2) In other experimental studies quercetin has been shown to reduce asthma and allergic rhinitis symptoms (sneezing, sniffling).  In one study, it was found that individuals who ate just two apples each week, had a lower incidence of asthma because of their quercetin intake.(3)

To make sure you eat at least two apples this week, try making this fall harvest buddha bowl!  Rosemary roasted chickpeas, roasted apples, onions, sweet potatoes and beets creates a warm flavonoid rich meal to help lower inflammation.  The recipe below makes 4 portions, so I made one bowl for me and froze three servings for the weekday lunches. The oven does all the work so it is quick and easy to prepare.  The roasted apples and sweet potatoes provide a delicate sweetness to this filling bowl. For more antioxidant rich meals, pre-order The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook, coming out February 2019.


Fall Harvest Buddha Bowl

Makes 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes (including roasting time)


1C dry quinoa

1 sweet potato

1 large golden beet or 2 small

2 apples

2 Tbs olive oil

1 large red onion

1 sprig of rosemary

1C chickpeas

pinch of salt

1. Add 2C of water to quinoa in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil with the lid on. Once it is boiling drop heat to low and let it simmer until all the liquid is absorbed about 20 minutes. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, slice beets, sweet potatoes, onions, apples into 1/3 inch pieces. Drizzle 1 Tbs of olive oil on the sheet pan and lay vegetables and apples on in a single layer. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown and tender.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, toss the chickpeas in 1 Tbs of olive oil, and add about 1 Tbs of chopped rosemary and a pinch of salt. Spread evenly onto a sheet pan and bake for about 15 minutes until golden. Set aside.

4. Assemble your buddha bowl! Add quinoa, veggies, and chickpeas. With another pinch of salt over the top or a drizzle of olive oil you are ready to eat.


1.Zuyi, W, Bodi, Z, et al. Quercetin Is More Effective than Cromolyn in Blocking Human Mast Cell Cytokine Release and Inhibits Contact Dermatitis and Photosensitivity in Humans. Plos One. 2012. 7(3) e33805.


2. Yao, Li, Jailing, Y, et al. Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity. Nutrients. 2016. 8(3): 167.


3. Mickek J, Jurikova, T, et al. Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Molecules. 2016; 21(5): 623.


Veggies for Breakfast!


When people think of breakfast, most people think of grains, dairy and maybe some fruit. However, breakfast can also be a great meal to sneak some veggies into the very beginning of your day. You should aim to consume at least 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, because fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients and inflammation busting antioxidants which will help reduce inflammation.

I like to eat as many colored vegetables and fruits as I can each day to get the most variety in taste and in nutrients. Each different colored fruit or vegetable yields a different phytonutrient. For example, orange veggies, that I feature today, like sweet potatoes, squash or pumpkin contain betacarotene, fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. All of these nutrients help to keep your immune system strong and skin healthy, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk for colon cancer, asthma and heart disease.  

Competing to see who can eat the most different colors is also a good way to challenge kids to get more veggies into their day. Have a list of veggies by color and see who can get more colors in their diet each day. It is easier than you think. To help you get started, here are two of my favorite veggie breakfast options that are low in histamine, high in antioxidants and of course orange! Using squash or sweet potatoes are a great option since they are high in nutrients and naturally sweet.

Vanilla Squash Oatmeal: Perfect for Fall!

Serves 1


  • 1/2 C Oats

  • 1/4C pumpkin or squash puree

  • maple syrup to taste

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 3/4C milk of choice

  • Simply combine oats, pumpkin or squash puree, milk of choice, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Microwave for 3 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and oats are tender.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots with Fried Eggs

Serves 2


  • 1 large sweet potato, diced

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2 carrots cut into 1/4 inch pieces

  • 2 Tbs olive oil

  • pinch of salt

  • 4 eggs

  • Roast sweet potatoes, onion, carrots tossed with olive oil and salt at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Then fry up eggs and serve over veggies.

Tip: Make a large pan on the weekend and freeze up single portions and just reheat during a busy weekday morning.

For more amazing high nutrient recipes pre-order The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook!