There is an old adage which says, “An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.” Many years ago, humans discovered that regular intake of colourful fruits and vegetables could promote a healthy lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables have many naturally occurring compounds with beneficial health effects. Some of these compounds include vitamins, carotenoids and, of course, anthocyanins. This article explains all about anthocyanins and how they protect our health against chronic diseases.
What are Anthocyanins?
Anthocyanins are a group of compounds naturally found in all tissues of higher plants. You can think of them as the pigments responsible for the red, blue, yellow and violet colours of some flowers and fruits. Currently, there are over 600 identified anthocyanins. In science, anthocyanins are classified under the class of flavonoids. Normally, these pigments protect plants against insect attacks and help to attract animals for pollination and seed dispersal.
However, some studies have shown that anthocyanins have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in the body. Nowadays, the benefits of anthocyanins are also increasing. Experiments have shown that these pigments can maintain cardiovascular health, as well as improve vision. Fruits like blueberries and cranberries are great sources of anthocyanins, and they provide a good amount in a single meal. Experts suggest that we can consume 180-215mg of anthocyanins per day.
Recently, anthocyanins have become of great interest to cosmetic and food manufacturers. This is because anthocyanins can be used to add vibrant colours to products and improve their overall appearance without any side effects.
Food Sources of Anthocyanins
Berries are the main source of various anthocyanins within our diet. They contain amounts ranging around 300 mg/g in fresh weight. Examples of berries include: Strawberry, Black raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Cranberry, Red raspberry, Bilberry, White currant and Black currant.
Flowers are also rich sources of anthocyanins with high antioxidant power. Some common examples include carnations, tulips, and violets.
Another important source of anthocyanins is cereals. For example, dark varieties of rice grains like black, blue and purple wheat barley have anthocyanins that play an important role in protecting health.
Vegetables like aubergines, beans, cabbage, radishes, and onions also have a good amount of anthocyanins.
Other Fruits and Wine
Some fruits such as figs and apples are also dietary sources of these pigments. In the same way, drinks such as red wine provide about 250-300 mg of anthocyanins per litre.
Health Benefits of Anthocyanins
Protect cardiovascular health
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of anthocyanins play an important role in cardiovascular health. There is ample evidence that anthocyanins help fight free radicals in heart cells. These compounds can prevent intravascular fat from being oxidized and minimize vascular dysfunction that can result. Anthocyanins also boost the production of nitric oxide, a substance that helps relax coronary arteries.
Can manage Obesity
Anthocyanin-rich foods are usually low on fats and can be beneficial for body weight maintenance. If you are overweight, it could be best to choose anthocyanin rich foods and supplements products as much as possible.
Improves Memory and Vision
Anthocyanins improve vision and reduce the risk of vision problems. Most experiments on cognitive brain function have shown that the antioxidant effects of anthocyanins enhance the information transmission of brain neurons and improve the utilization of glucosamine. Therefore, they believe that these pigments can improve memory and maintain brain health.
Anthocyanins in Supplements
You might think of anthocyanins as a rich ingredient in dietary supplements. Due to their potent antioxidant properties, manufacturers add anthocyanins to supplements to treat a variety of conditions. Because anthocyanins prevent the development of diseases and aging processes caused by free radicals. With conclusive research worldwide, people may consider anthocyanin supplements to boost systemic immunity, improve vision and protect cardiovascular health.
Some examples of anthocyanin supplements include:
- Webberjian – Anti-Aging Concentrated Blueberry Extract + Mountain Sorrel: Anthocyanin-rich high-efficiency anti-oxidant formula helps maintain eye health. Designed to promote eye blood circulation and protect eyes from blue light. This product also has the ability to quickly relieve eyestrain and dry eyes.
- Charenda – Lutein+Blueberry+Kakadu Plum: Anthocyanins and lutein are combined here to produce a strong antioxidant effect. Its formula protect eye from blue light and relieve eye from fatigue. Also enjoy increased immunity and disease protection.
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