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 Tbs olive oil
1 large red onion
1 sprig of rosemary
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.