What Are Anthocyanins and Why Do I Need Them In My Diet?

Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid—compounds that are found in plants, fruits, and vegetables and can act as antioxidants. These anthocyanin compounds are what provide red, blue, and purple colors to all your favorite fruits, vegetables, and even flowers. And it turns out they do more than just make these foods look pretty—they also have a lot of health benefits, too! 

If you’ve never heard of anthocyanins before, you’re not alone! 

Anthocyanins have only recently started gaining popularity as researchers try to figure out what health benefits these interesting molecules provide. So far, the research behind anthocyanins indicates that they may help support various aspects of our health. 


Nutrition surveys have shown that we do not get enough of these colorful compounds in our diet. So, what can we do to change that? One simple idea is to look for more color when we go to the supermarket to get our groceries. Instead of just buying the same old frozen vegetables we might normally get, we could spend some time walking around the fresh produce section to look for these wonderfully colored foods. 

Berries, like blueberries and strawberries (often available both fresh and frozen), eggplants, purple cabbage, black rice, and other foods are very common at most grocers and are an easy place to start. Anthocyanins are amazing compounds, and we are excited for what future research will show us about other potential benefits of getting more of them in our diets.

Foods that contain anthocyanins include strawberries, blueberries, bilberries, purple cabbage, purple carrots, black rice, and many others. Even though many of us know how important it is to eat a rainbow of different colored foods, these colorful foods are missing in many diets in countries around the world. Research also indicates that increasing our intake of anthocyanins may provide certain health benefits.

Some potential benefits include providing antioxidant, cardiovascular, and gut health support, although these are only a few examples of the many incredible properties of these compounds. 

Antioxidant Health 

Antioxidants are compounds that help to neutralize the potentially damaging effects of unstable molecules inside our bodies called free radicals. If we are exposed to, or if our body produces too many of these free radicals, it is hard for our body’s internal antioxidant network to keep up. So, it’s important that we get some of these beneficial compounds from our diets. 

Typically, we think of the most common antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, but there are many other compounds that act as antioxidants including anthocyanins. Numerous studies have revealed that anthocyanins have antioxidant capabilities and can inhibit the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species. 

Cardiovascular Health 

Cardiovascular health refers to the health of our heart and blood vessels, i.e., our circulatory system. This important system is responsible for delivering nutrients and oxygen all throughout the body. We should always be looking for ways to help improve and support our cardiovascular health. One simple way is to include more anthocyanins in our diets. 

In studies that have looked at lifestyle habits of large populations of people, those who included more anthocyanins in their diet were shown to have a positive correlation with better cardiovascular health.   

Enhance Gut Health 

Anthocyanins help promote a healthy microbiome for better gut health.

May Assist in Stabilizing Blood Sugar 

After having a high fat meal, people who took the anthocyanin blend showed a less increase in blood glucose level, it means his/her blood glucose level is more stable. After intake of anthocyanin-prebiotic blend for 8 weeks, HbA1c (average level of blood sugar over 3 months) is statistically significant improved  to a healthier level

Support inflammatory balance

After taking anthocyanin blend, intestinal permeability is improved immediately with lowered plasma endotoxins level, hence results in healthier mice.

Improve Liver Health 

Experiment shown that high fat diet increases fat cells in liver tissue (picture 1) , while taking anthocyanins, fat cells in liver are obviously less than the high fat group (picture 2) and resulted in liver tissue that looked much more like the control group (picture 3).

Shift Body to a Healthier Metabolic State 

After taking anthocyanin blend, metabolic way and biochemistry of the body looks alike those of a person with healthy lifestyle. It proves that anthocyanin blend can shift the body to a healthier metabolic state.

Source: Nu Skin

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