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Anthocyanins – Another Reason to Eat Veggies

Eyes, Heart, Immune | August 18, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

Immune, Brain, heart disease, Eyes, general

Anthocyanins – Another Reason to Eat Veggies

If you needed another reason you should eat your fruits and vegetables, then Anthocyanins might be that reason. Red, blue and purple, those highly coloured fruits and vegetables that not only bring to life a boring meal, also offer a variety of health benefits, from eye, to heart and anti-cancer. The colour of these foods is because of a pigment called anthocyanin, a naturally occurring glycoside from the flavonoid family of phytochemicals (plant chemicals), and considered one of the most important group of chemicals found in food.

So, what is so good Anthocyanins?

Anthocyanins have been shown to exhibit a multitude of health effects. Studies have shown they offer antimicrobial protection, are antioxidant and protect us against various diseases.

Health Issues benefited 

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Poor night vision
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetic disease
  • Bowel disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Age- related disease
  • Obesity

Studies

Some of the reasons we should eat our highly pigmented fruit and vegetablesLove your Heart

Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death among men and women. Epidemiological studies suggest increasing the intake of anthocyanins may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Antioxidant activity is one way they are deemed to help, but it is also thought that anthocyanins may regulate different signaling pathways involved in the development of CVD. Further evaluation for their use as protection of and prevention against the development of CVD is suggested.

Women who eat three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries each week may lower their risk of having a heart attack by improving blood flow and countering the build-up of plaque. [1]

Vision - A closer look

See better, see clearer and see at night. Human studies showed the anthocyanin pigments from black currents and bilberries significantly enhanced night vision, vision adaptation and vision acuity. This is due to the anthocyanins stimulating the regeneration of rhodopsin in the back of the eye amongst other areas. It is also believed the antioxidant effect may play therapeutic role in the prevention and protection against ocular diseases.

Immune Function

Anthocyanins offer anti-inflammatory effects and help boost production of cytokines that regulate the immune responses.

Brain

Eat Sweet Potato and protect your brain

Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathophysiology of several neurodegenerative disorders.

Foods to Include in your DietOxidative stress is fundamentally an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through counteraction by antioxidants.

One study from Korea performed on the brain tissue of mice, found that administration of isolated anthocyanins from purple sweet potato enhanced cognitive performance and repressed lipid peroxidation.

Aging and Disease

Protect your body from premature aging and age- related disease by incorporating plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables in your diet. Anthocyanins may protect DNA from damage and lipid peroxidation. Anthocyanins as antioxidants help to prevent free radical damage – the damage associated with aging and disease – oxidative stress.

Obesity

Eat your berries to help with weight loss and protect from weight loss!

Foods to Include in your DietAnthocyanins may play a role in decreasing obesity by producing a decrease in weight and adipose tissue. The antioxidant activity can also protect the body in weight loss – as accumulated toxins are released from fat cells. Fat cells can be a storehouse of toxicity and when people lose weight those toxins are released. Anthocyanins can protect the body  from the negative effect of these toxins. 

Other areas of support include:

  • Hormone balance - by reducing estrogenic activity.
  • Digestion -  by helping to regulate enzyme production that aids nutrient absorption.
  • Cell structure -  by strengthening cell membranes, making them less permeable and fragile.

Another interesting fact Anthocyanins have their use as natural alternatives to artificial colours used to enhance the appearance of food.

You can buy anthocyanins in supplement form – bilberries for eye health for example. Always choose a reputable rand. 

Foods to Include in your Diet

Berries, currants, grapes, and some tropical fruits have high anthocyanins content. Red to purplish blue-colored leafy vegetables, grains, roots, and tubers are the edible vegetables that contain a high level of anthocyanins. The difference in colour or hew is due to the type of anthocyanins it contains, which is why some foods come in a variety of colours.

Foods to Include in your DietFruits - Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, elderberries, mulberries, strawberries, pomegranate, red grapes and black currents.

Vegetables - Purple corn, purple sweet potato, red cabbage, red onions, beetroot and eggplant.

Nuts - Almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios and roasted peanuts.

 

Herbs - Basil, rosemary, sage, mint and dill.

Other - Green tea and cocoa beans.

Meal Ideas

  • Start the day with a power shake of colourful berries and your choice of milks or water - add some blended almonds.
  • Steam some purple corn and red cabbage with your other usual vegetables (which are also good for you).
  • Change your standard potato to a purple sweet potato. Your white onions to red onions. Your yellow corn to purple (the kids love this).
  • Cherries and berries with nuts for afternoon tea.
  • Ditch the black tea and turn to green.
  • Add herbs to your meals.
  • Don’t give up your desert – add some berries to your ice-cream or yoghurt.

Final thoughts

Anthocyanins are phytochemicals found in colourful fruits and vegetables. The colour comes from the various types of anthocyanins present in the food.

Anthocyanins help keep us healthy due to their antioxidant capacity to fight free radical damage, thereby reducing the signs of age and age-related disease.

Researched has revealed anthocyanins help fight heart disease, cancer, memory loss and neurological disorders.

Try to incorporate colourful fruits and vegetables in your diet every-day

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References

Henry, Osiecki; The Nutrient Bible 9th Edition, Bio Concepts, AG Publishing; QLD, Australia

Anthocyanins and Human Health: An In Vitro Investigative Approach https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082894/

Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28970777

Health Benefits of Anthocyanins and Their Encapsulation for Potential Use in Food Systems: A Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25745811

Effect of processing on phenolic antioxidants of fruits, vegetables, and grains--a review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24915381

Anthocyanins as a potential therapy for diabetic retinopathy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25139396

Anthocyanins in cardiovascular disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22211184

[1] https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/circulationaha.112.122408

https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Oxidative-Stress.aspx

Metabolite profiling of red and blue potatoes revealed cultivar and tissue specific patterns for anthocyanins and other polyphenols. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28664422

Antiobesity Effects of Anthocyanins in Preclinical and Clinical Studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28785373

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11339016/

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