Anthocyanins. “What are they?” you say. “What a peculiar word,” you ponder to yourself. It’s not a word you hear in everyday conversation, that’s for sure. If you’ve ever asked anyone what they ate for breakfast, it’s not likely that they will respond that they had a healthy helping of anthocyanins. I believe that this lack of anthocyanin 411 needs to take a turn towards Enlightenment Central Boulevard. If our aim is to live long and blissfully disease-free lives, we need to educate ourselves about anthocyanins and consume foods rich in these compounds. And not just for breakfast! But for lunch, dinner, at your afternoon coffee break or when you are stuck in the car during rush hour traffic (provided you had the excellent forethought to pack yourself anthocyanin-rich munchies). Pretty much any time your body says it wants food is a fantastic time to get more anthocyanins into your bod.
If you are single and dating, I highly recommend mentioning anthocyanins on your first dates with a potential romantic interests. What a knockout you would be! Seriously. Put on a pretty outfit, do your makeup really nice, spray a whiff of natural perfume and then after making small talk, bring up anthocyanins. I double dare you. Nutritionally educated girls are attractive and so are girls that care about their health. You will hit two birds with one stone by appearing both smart and health-conscious. There should be a study conducted on this subject, surely. Forget those dating self-help books. You don’t need them. All you need to do is educate yourself on the meaning of anthocyanins, eat foods with anthocyanins in them to keep yourself healthy and your skin glowing, and boom, you will make a stellar impression on your date. By now you must be incredibly curious. What the heck are anthocyanins?! Get ready for a huge serving of awesome anthocyanin knowledge!
Let’s go! Here’s what you need to know:
1) Anthocyanins are plant pigments that provide color to red, purple, blue and black fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, plums, bilberries, elderberries, purple cabbage and the skins of eggplants.
2) They are a category of flavonoids (antioxidants that have potent beneficial effects on our health) that are black belts at fighting oxidative damage to our cells. Oxidative damage promotes aging and disease, so chemical defenders of oxidation are our great friends!
3) One study found anthocyanins to have the strongest antioxidizing power of 150 flavonoids (scientists have discovered over 4,000 different flavonoids).
4) The anthocyanin, cyanidin, protects and heals cell membrane lipids from oxidation from a slew of toxins.
5) Cyanidin was found to possess four times more antioxidant power than vitamin E.
6) The antioxidant capabilities of anthocyanins protects collagen and our nervous system and safeguards both large and small blood vessels from oxidative damage. Animal studies have shown that anthocyanins prevents inflammation and blood-vessel damage that leads to heart disease and stroke.
7) Anthocyanins have been shown to help dampen allergic reactions.
8) In laboratory studies, anthocyanins were found to inhibits some tumor cells in humans.
Wowza, who would have thought that a tiny, microscopic compound could have such far-reaching effects on our bodies? This littl’ dark pigment is oh so bright for our long-term health. Our ancestors ate wild berries regularly, probably as often as modern homo sapiens residing in the U.S. of A. enjoy their Starbucks. Given how beneficial blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and other blue, black, purple and red fruits and vegetables are for our health, I propose we all bring up anthocyanins up in our conversations, proclaim that we consumed them with our breakfast, lunch or dinner when anyone asks and make more delicious summer smoothies with our fav dark-hued berries.
Doesn’t this strawberry smoothie look yummy? Here is the easy recipe!
Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
1 cup your fav nondairy milk
12-14 frozen strawberries (preferably organic)
1 banana (preferably very ripe)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medjool dates, pitted
Blend and enjoy! Top with sliced banana, sliced kiwi, coconut pieces or cacao nibs if you’d like!
If anyone brings up anthocyanins up on a date, please do let me know the outcome. I would love some data to support my anthocyanins-successful date theory!
Peace, love and STRAWBERRIES <3
1) Tsuda T. Dietary cyanidin 3-0-beta-D-glucoside increases ex vivo oxidative resistance of serum in rats. Lipids 1998 Jun;33(6):583-8.
2) Rice-Evans CA. The relative antioxidant activities of plant-derived polyphenolic flavonoids. Free Radical Res 1995 Apr;22(4):3785-93.
3) Bertuglia S, et al. Effect of Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides on ischemia reperfusion injury in hamster cheek pouch microcirculation. Pharmacol Res 1995;31(3/4):183-7.
4) Borissova P, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of flavonoids in the natural juice from Aronia melanocarpa, rutin, and rutin-magnesium. Complex on an experimental model of inflammation induced by histamine and serotonin. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg 1994;20(1):25-30.