Quercitin, Lycopene and Flavonoids, oh my!


Chances are you’ve stumbled over these words numerous times over the past decade. Various research studies have been quoted regarding their importance to your good health. Still you ask, exactly what are they? They are micronutrients and fall under the broad term “phytochemicals.” Phyto is the Greek word for plant, thus phytochemicals are the chemicals found in plants.

Quercitin, lycopene and flavonoids are the kind of phytochemicals called antioxidants. The best discovery is that antioxidants have the ability to inactivate “free radicals.” Free radicals are created through your body’s natural processes. Now there is mounting scientific evidence that free radicals damage cells, possibly initiate cancerous activity, and may be the cause of many degenerative diseases, such as heart disease.

There is more good news: Several researchers have found that organic food contains more of these nutrients than conventionally produced foods. For instance, organic tomatoes contained 79% more flavonoids! Moreover, cooked tomatoes products may contain six times more lycopene than their fresh counterparts. This makes organic pasta sauces a super rich source of these nutrients and they are super easy to use.

However, is your family getting bored with spaghetti night? Have you had one too many Italian casseroles? Here’s a quick, inexpensive and easy alternative: Vegetable Pasta Salad. Just cook one box of whole wheat penne rigate for nine minutes. Rinse under cold water until the pasta is cool. Drain canned corn, green beans and peas and add to pasta. In a separate bowl, add a half cup of ketchup to one cup of ranch dressing. Mix well and pour over the vegetables and pasta. Now you have a beautiful pasta salad full of rich organic vegetables that is high in fiber and rich in quercitin, lycopene and flavonids.