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A bioflavonoid, which is becoming increasingly popular, quercetin serves as a backbone for other flavonoids and is considered to be the most active of them all. Quercetin has a wide range of beneficial effects. It has been found to be a powerful antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals, which are the underlying causes of the degenerative diseases of ageing such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis; it has also been reported to possess strong and prolonged anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. In addition, it is reported to be effective against viruses, especially oral herpes. Quercetin has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties and studies have revealed that it can inhibit the proliferation of malignant cells in breast and ovarian cancers and leukaemia. It has also been found to inhibit histamine release, making it useful in the treatment of allergies. Additional studies have reported on the ability of quercetin to delay the onset of cataract, and, since it is able to enhance insulin secretion, it is also useful in the control of diabetes. Quercetin is abundant in fiuits and vegetables such as citrus rind, garlic, onions and blue-green algae and supplements of quercetin are now available in health food shops in capsule form.
High doses of quercetin supplements may cause diarrhoea.
A grain, which thrives in the high, cold altitudes of the Andes Mountains of South America where it has been grown for thousands of years, it was one of the staple foods of the Aztecs and was known as the 'mother grain'. The protein content of quinoa is the highest of any of the grains, both in quantity and in quality. It also contains more fat than other grains, and has more calcium than milk. In addition, it is a very good source of iron, B vitamins, vitamin E and phosphorus. The grain is still cultivated in the Andes, and remains one of the chief foods of Andean Indians. It is also exported to the USA, where it is processed and marketed as grain, flour or pasta. Quinoa can be cooked in the same way as other grains, such as rice; it is also included in breakfast cereals.