Blueberries might be the best example of how good things come in small packages. Dietitian Anya Miller says that includes protection for your heart, thanks to something called an anthocyanin – a compound in these berries that gives them their deep blue hue. Studies have shown eating foods high in these anthocyanins can help lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease. Besides the heart-healthy perk, that serving of blueberries will get you some vitamin C, dietary fiber and natural sweetness. That makes them blueberries a boost for physical and mental health.
Anthocyanins are a member of the flavonoid plant-chemical family and are responsible for the red and purple colors of many fruits and vegetables. They are pleiotropic (Multi faceted )In their health benefits, and are good for diabetes and metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, dementia and cancer. If this sounds almost too good to be true, the OPTIMAL AMOUNT of anthocyanins has not yet been determined. let’s hope that you cannot ingest too much of these marvelous substances, and that they don’t follow the path of vitamin C, an excess of which can prove detrimental to inflammatory defenses..
On the optimistic side, it’s been stated multiple times in the literature that antioxidant and free radical effects are just part of the benefits conferred by anthocyanins, and that the mechanism of benefit remains to be discovered.
Anthocyanins are present in blueberries, blackberries, bilberries, cherries, red cabbage and so many other fruits and vegetables. The benefits of a fruit and vegetable-based diet have been extolled for a long time, and I am buying into this narrative.
The large amount of fiber present in fruits and vegetables is an independent benefit, not to mention taking up space in the stomach that could displace red meat, saturated fat, and that great enemy of modern civilization, sugar.
Be sure to eat your fruits and vegetables as such, and not in the form of juices, which have the habit of being sweetened, or in the case of tomatoes, loaded with salt.
With fall coming on, also remember that anthocyanins form the basis for much of the brilliant reds and oranges present in the fall leaves; They nourish the eyesight along with the rest of the body.