Anthocyanins: Benefits and Sources

Anthocyanins are perhaps the most readily available antioxidant because most people are already consuming their own dose of phytonutrients without knowing it.

Blueberries

Who here isn’t body conscious? Especially now that the world is just always one post and clicks away. Who here isn’t watching what they eat, no, I didn’t mean watching what you eat on Facebook, youtube, and Instagram but being careful and wary of the kind of food you put in your mouth. Or who hasn’t taken into account the benefits they get from the food they eat? I think that there is a large percentage of this generation’s population who are not just mindful of their figures and only care about instagramable food but are rather health-conscious. This generation is more particular about good food that tastes heavenly but also gives you a lot more than you bargain for in terms of nutrients and sustenance. Well, I bet you’ll love what I have in store for you today.

What’s Up with Anthocyanins?

There is no better way to stay healthy than to eat healthy after all “you are what you eat,” as they say. Therefore if you continue with a lifestyle of irresponsible eating, then you’ll most likely end up putting yourself at risk with a lot of foodborne diseases. Yup, it’s fun to go around and discover new places and new kinds of dishes to try. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you are a reformed eater and want to trudge on the path heading towards a more healthy lifestyle, then I have a treat for you. Let me introduce to you, Anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins are antioxidants under the family of flavonoids. What are flavonoids? Flavonoids are plant compounds that are phytonutrients or plant chemicals. There are more than 6,000 known types of flavonoids.

One of those 6,000 types of flavonoids is what we call Anthocyanins. They are the pigments responsible for vivid colors like red, purple, and blue-violet that we see in fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins are perhaps most readily available because they are found in most deeply colored fruit and vegetable. It is also an unassuming antioxidant because most people are already consuming their dose of phytonutrients without knowing it. Recent studies suggest that there are 635 different kinds of anthocyanin now largely identified. They are water-soluble (meaning they dissolve easily in water) glycoside pigments, which result in different colors largely depending on their PH balance.

Funny thing though when it comes to anthocyanin found in plants with the varying PH balance resulting in different levels of anthocyanin will partially be responsible for the deep pigmentations in fruits and vegetables that will give them either red, blue, violet, or even orange pigments.

Health Benefits Gained from Anthocyanin

Long before the discovery of the health benefits of anthocyanins they have been used in traditional medicine to fight microbial infections, alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea, fatigue, and anxiety. Deep-colored foods were historically used to remedy liver-related diseases and hypertension. Since anthocyanins are antioxidants, they are anti-inflammatory, and right off the bat, they fight off free radicals that cause premature aging and oxidative stress. They are also antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic. This type of phytonutrient can help in protecting the cells, tissues, and various vital organs. Apart from these, there are other benefits that one can gain when it comes to anthocyanins such as:

  • Prevent the risk of having Cardiovascular diseases dramatically by improving heart health, reducing cholesterol levels, increasing metabolism, and normalizing blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Help fight obesity due to its ability to speed up the metabolism in the human body.
  • Reduce the proliferation of cancer cells and may induce cancer cell death and prevent breast cancer, colon cancer, oral and pharyngeal cancer, and prostate cancer as some laboratory studies found out.
  • Enhance cognitive functions much like memory, slow down age-related mental degeneration, fight off neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, and or dementia.
  • Lower the levels of glucose in the body by increasing the natural production of insulin.
  • Fight off the common cold and flu as found in studies conducted with elderberries and H1N1 virus. The anthocyanin found in elderberries prevents the infection of host cells.
  • Strengthen the body to ward off fatigue and help the body recover from exercise and any intense physical activity.
  • Improve eyesight and eye health by protecting the eyes from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Anthocyanins: Benefits

Food Rich in Anthocyanin

It’s not that hard to find food rich in anthocyanin. It’s quite accessible now that we talk about it. You can buy them in supermarkets and groceries. Hey! you might even have some of them at home, perhaps in your mini garden? Anyway below is a shortlist of some fruits and vegetables from which you can get your dose of anthocyanin.

  • Deep colored berries like; cranberries, elderberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, black raspberries, a├žai berry, loganberry, and hawthorn berry.
  • Purple and red grapes along with red wine
  • Blood oranges
  • Plums
  • Red cabbages
  • Purple sweet potatoes
  • Blue corn
  • Red onion
  • Purple and black carrots
  • Eggplants
  • Raisins
  • Bilberry
  • Chokeberry
  • Tart cherries

So hurry and try out these superfoods, put them in a salad or eat them fresh, and watch how anthocyanin from this food gives you a renewed version of yourself.

Being body and figure conscious is something that this generation is all too aware of but it’s also not a secret that being healthy is a choice. A lifelong list of choices that sometimes can be difficult but satisfying and rewarding in the end. It’s easy to live a life, but it’s even easier to die because of the choices we’ve made. So choose to live, choose to live a healthy life. Choose to eat healthily and start your way with anthocyanin-rich foods.

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