Anthocyanins, derived from the Greek words “anthos” meaning flower and “kyanos” meaning blue, are water-soluble flavonoid pigments that appear red to blue, according to pH. They are created by plants and provide color in leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits.
Health Benefits of Anthocyanins
Richly concentrated in berries, these phytonutrients were the topic of research presented at a 2007 symposium on the health benefits of berries.
Studies show anthocyanins exert positive influences on a wide variety of health conditions. One reason is their powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Anthocyanins also provide powerful protection against oxidation caused by free radicals. Of 150 flavonoids tested, anthocyanins were found to exert the strongest antioxidant activity.
By protecting both large and small blood vessels from oxidative damage, anthocyanins help to reduce the damage that arises from high blood sugar levels—a major concern for people with diabetes or anyone who wants to slow the aging process and reduce their risk of chronic disease.
In fact, researchers have found that anthocyanins have potential health effects against:
- Neurological diseases
- Bacterial infections
As of 2003 more than 400 anthocyanins had been reported while more recent literature (early 2006), puts the number at more than 550.
How to Get More Anthocyanins in Your Diet
Get your fill of these fabulous phytonutrients by enjoying cherries, blueberries, plums, red cabbage, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates, apples, grapes, eggplant and red wine. Anthocyanins are found in fresh and frozen berries, but not in processed foods.