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Anthocyanins… More Than Natures Colors! Nutrition

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.


Comments

  1. Dr. Hue Geanus Says: December 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    It is important to note that the total anthocyanin content of fruits and vegetables is consumable in juices and not just from consuming raw foods. Specifically, organic fruits and vegetables will yield higher anthocyanin content and acidity over topical and industrialized (including GMO) fruits and vegetables. Thus, visit your local farmers’ market or organic grocery store.

    • Taylor Wallace Says: December 29, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      I fully agree with your comment regarding total anthocyanin content from juice versus whole fruit but disagree in regards to GMO versus non-GMO fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanin content is typically higher among freshly harvested foods versus ones that are picked half ripe and allowed to ripen on a truck. I am not aware of any credible evidence that suggests non-GMO is better. In fact, researchers at Oregon State University have engineered several varieties of fruits to produce higher amounts of anthocyanins because of their known health benefits! Believe it or not, most fruits and veges at the farmers market are GMO as well (that’s not a bad thing). But that’s a hot topic blog to come soon!

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