Are you getting enough dark colored fruits and vegetables in your daily diet? Our newest research suggests that anthocyanins, the red-orange to blue-violet colors in fruits and vegetables may help lower your bad cholesterol (click here) and improve your overall heart health.
It is well accepted by scientists that diets rich in colorful fruits and vegetables are linked to health, longevity, and a reduced risk for the development of many chronic diseases. Outside of heart health, diets high in fruits and vegetables containing anthocyanins have been shown to protect against the development of many other age- and obesity-related chronic diseases such as but not limited to certain types of cancers, type-2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, in addition to having positive effects on the eye health (i.e., prevention of age-related macular degeneration) and on neurocognitive functions (i.e., prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly). You can find out more about the specific benefits of anthocyanins by reading my textbook “Anthocyanins in Health and Disease.”
In the Western diet, anthocyanins are largely present in berries such as blueberries, bilberries, blackberries, chokeberries, strawberries, raspberries, tubers such as purple potatoes, and vegetables such as red onions, purple corn, purple carrots, and red radishes. A recent report of optimal fruit and vegetable consumption found that if you eat according to U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, your average anthocyanin intake would be about 11 mg/day (enough to offer heart healthy benefits). One cup of blueberries or blackberries provides almost double this amount.