We talk about anthocyanins a lot here on Antioxidant-Fruits, but you may be wondering exactly what they are. This is a good question and one that we don’t discuss much in our daily lives. Anthocyanins are merely a type of flavonoid. Flavonoids are compounds with antioxidant effects. This isn’t all flavonoids do, however, and anthocyanins have other benefits outside of their antioxidant properties as well.
An easy, although not necessarily foolproof, method of telling whether a fruit is high in anthocyanins is by looking at its color. Anthocyanins tend to make the fruit’s color range from red to black, perhaps acting as a natural sunblock for certain plants in sun-heavy climates. Some fruits that contain quite a few anthocyanins are:
- Acai Berries
- Aronia Berries (chokeberries)
- Concord Grapes
Out of these, aronia berries have the highest anthocyanin content with raspberries coming in second.
So why bother with fruits high in anthocyanins instead of just antioxidant fruits in general? The answer is simple: fruits with anthocyanins get the benefits of antioxidants and the more specific benefits of these flavonoids. These health benefits work against problems such as:
- various types of cancer (in particular, they have been tested against prostate and colon cancers)
- pain (chronic or otherwise)
- bacterial infection
- neurological diseases (anthocyanins have been looked upon as neuroprotective molecules)
When you look at the health benefits of anthocyanins, it really makes you wonder why you haven’t taken advantage of these flavonoids yet. Much of the research done into their benefits uses extracts of various fruits or juices for the purpose of the studies. Berry extracts are easy to find online, and you can always opt for fresh fruit or fruit juice too!