6 Foods and Drinks That Contain Rutin in Significant Amounts
From buckwheat, apple peel and figs to elderflower infusion and rooibos tea, there are several common drinks and foods that contain the bioflavonoid rutin (also known as rutoside) in significant amounts. Here are some very good dietary sources of rutin:
Buckwheat, also known as beechwheat, is perhaps the best-known food source of rutin. The rutin content of products derived from buckwheat seeds has been shown to range from 0.48mg/100g to 4.97mg/100g, with popped groats showing higher levels of rutin than boiled groats. The rutin content of tea made from buckwheat flowers has been shown to contain even more rutin (up to 396mg/100g). A word of warning, though: In large quantities, products derived from buckwheat leaves and flowers may cause adverse reactions due to the relatively high amounts of fagopyrin they contain. Fagopyrin is a naturally occuring chemical that makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
2. Amaranth Leaves
In Western kitchens, amaranth is best known for its edible seeds which are cooked and eaten much in the same way as rice, buckwheat, and quinoa. But as Chinese and Southeast Asian cooks know very well, also the leaves of this ancient food make delicious dishes. And, not only are amaranth leaves incredibly tasty, they also provide a truckload of rutin! A 2009 study published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition found that some amaranth species contain up to 24.5 g/kg (dry weight) of rutin in their leaves. Amaranth seeds, by contrast, were found to contain only very small amounts of rutin.
3. Elderflower Tea
The white blossoms of the Elder tree can be dried and infused in hot water to make a rutin-rich hot drink. According to a study published in the Czech Journal of Food Sciences, the rutin content of elderflower tea is around 10.9 g/kg of dry flowers' weight.
4. Unpeeled Apples
Next up on this list of the best dietary sources of rutin are apples which are loaded with flavonoids such as quercetin and rutin. To reap the maximum benefits, eat your apples with the peel on – most of the flavonoids are in the peel. Unfortunately, apple peel can also contain high amounts of pesticides, so stick to organically-grown produce.
5. Unfermented Rooibos Tea
Unfermented rooibos tea has been shown to contain high amounts of flavonoids, including rutin (about 1.69 mg/g). These flavonoids are largely responsible for the strong antioxidant properties of unfermented rooibos tea. However, if you're looking to step up your overall intake of antioxidants, a cup of regular green or black tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant may be a better choice: The total antioxidant activity (TAA) of unfermented rooibos tea was found to be about 50% lower than the TAA of various water infusions of Camellia sinensis. (For more information about green tea, check out our in-depth article Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea.)
Figs are one of the best foods for preventing constipation, but their health benefits are not limited to laxative effects. A group of scientists from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, discovered that figs contain significant amounts of rutin. In fact, the rutin levels in figs were comparable to apples.
List of References
1. Cheol Ho Park, Kim YB, Choi YS, et al (2000). Rutin content in food products processed from groats, leaves, and flowers of buckwheat. Fagopyrum, 17, 63-66.
2. Jana Kalinova and Eva Dadakova (2009). Rutin and Total Quercetin Content in Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.). Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 64(1), 68-74.
3. Buckwheat Leaves: Edible or Poisonous? HealWithFood.org, October 2013.
4. K. Cejpek, I. Malouskova, M. Konecny, and J. Velisek (2009). Antioxidant Activity in Variously Prepared Elderberry Foods and Supplements. Czech Journal of Food Sciences, Vol. 27, 2009, Special Issue.
5. Emilio Alvarez-Parrilla, Rosa LA, Torres-Rivas F, et al (2005). Complexation of Apple Antioxidants: Chlorogenic Acid, Quercetin and Rutin by beta-Cyclodextrin (beta-CD). Journal of inclusion phenomena and macrocyclic chemistry, 53(1-2), 121-129.
6. Lorenzo Bramati, Francesca Aquilano, and Piergiorgio Pietta (2003). Unfermented Rooibos Tea:? Quantitative Characterization of Flavonoids by HPLC-UV and Determination of the Total Antioxidant Activity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(25), 7472-7474.
7. Robert Veberic, Mateja Colaric, and Franci Stampar (2008). Phenolic acids and flavonoids of fig fruit (Ficus carica L.) in the northern Mediterranean region. Food Chemistry, 106(1), 153-157.