You may have heard someone say that you should have a variety of colorful fruits and veggies in your diet. But did you know that the unique colors of certain fruits and veggies are actually a great sign that they are loaded with a rich dose of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins?
So what exactly is an anthocyanin and what are the benefits?
Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid that gives plants their antioxidant properties and are loaded with nutrients. They have so many benefits, including fighting free radicals as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Anthocyanins are actually the red-orange to blue-violet pigments that we see in some fruits and veggies. Not only do they offer us nutritional and health benefits, but before they even reach our mouths, they also protect the plant from sun damage and cold temperatures, along with attracting insects for pollination.
They have been shown to help improve cognitive function by reducing inflammation of the brain, improving blood flow to the brain, and boosting synaptic signaling.
Anthocyanins have also been shown to improve cardiac function and hypertension. Getting people to consume more strawberries and blueberries each week has been shown to reduce the number of deaths in patients suffering from cardiovascular and coronary artery disease.
What is even more amazing about anthocyanins, is that they have even been shown to aid in cancer prevention and inhibit the growth of new cancer cells in cancer patients!
There are many options for fruits and veggies that are loaded with anthocyanins. You will want to keep an eye out for veggies that are purple (sometimes labeled red, for example red onion) in color as they tend to be highest in anthocyanins.
Here are a few options to check out next time you are at the grocery store:
-Purple Sweet Potato