Want to live longer, happier, healthier, and with all your faculties functioning at near full capacity when you are very old?  THAT would indeed be a full, rewarding,  happy life. Here’s how…

Back in the not-to-distant history of medical research it was discovered that some foods pack a powerful health benefit, particularly to one’s efflux capacity–the ability of the body to escort bad cholesterol out of the arteries. As you likely know, it is the bad cholesterol that attracts plenty of attention and that is believed to be what damages the inner lining of the arteries resulting in strokes or heart attacks. Also read my Nugget: “YOUR EFFLUX CAPACITY…NOT SAME AS FLUX CAPACITOR IN MOVIE BACK TO FUTURE.”

Brand new research See End Note 1.    published a few days ago, proves that Cholesterol Efflux Capacity, (CEC), improves the prediction of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). And, as you know, damaged arteries can result in plaques that erupt to block the arteries resulting in strokes or heart attacks. Let me interpret this much more plainly. That study tells us that low efflux capacity caused by the foods you eat and drink are an indicator that the higher your chances are of suffering or dying from heart attacks and strokes. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the higher your efflux capacity, the less chance you have of suffering or dying from heart disease or strokes.

Assuming you want to live a long, healthy life without having by-pass surgery, stents or being in a wheel chair paralyzed from stroke damage, then you’d likely want to know the answer to this question: Is there anything I can start doing to help protect and optimize my arterial efflux capacity for the balance of my lifetime?

Glad you asked. And the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Let me be very clear…I do not support the practice of taking supplements of any sort unless one is told by one’s doctor that he or she is deficient in a particular vitamin, mineral, or enzyme. So, despite what follows, check with your doctor before taking any supplements or modifying your therapies or lifestyles in any way.

Back in 2013, medical research See End Note 2. proved that test subjects experiencing high cholesterol levels who were given a supplement of anthocyanins improved their cholesterol efflux capacity, (CEC). The study concluded that anthocyanins may provide protective cardiovascular effects.

What’s an anthocyanin?  Anthocyanin comes from plant foods and acts as a strengthener to one’s ability to escort bad cholesterol out of the arteries. Foods that are of the color blue, red or purple are high in anthocyanins.  For us laypeople: anthocyanins may be a great thing to add to our food choices and diets for many reasons among which is the improvement of our efflux capacity in our arteries which ought to help us live a longer, healthier life. So, what food choices must we lean towards to make our efflux capacity stronger or as strong as it can possibly be?  Eat lots of red, purple, blue fruits and vegetables.  In no particular order:

  • Eggplant
  • Grapes
  • Black currant
  • Plums
  • Blueberries
  • Asparagus
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Elderberries
  • Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Bananas–though the exception to the rule because they are yellow not red, blue or purple, chemical analysis indicated they are a great source of those protective anthocyanins
  • Bilberries
  • Red cabbage
  • Wine–think Pinot Noir but also other reds
  • Kidney beans
  • Black beans
  • Pomegranates
  • Red onions
  • Fennel
  • Black rice


  1. “Beyond Coronary Calcification, Family History, and C-Reactive Protein: Cholesterol Efflux Capacity and Cardiovascular Risk Prediction” By Mody, Joshi, Khera, Ayers, Rohatgi. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016 May 31; 67(21):2480-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.03.538.
  2. “Anthocyanin supplementation improves HDL-associated paraoxonase 1 activity and enhances cholesterol efflux capacity in subjects with hypercholesterolemia”, By Zhu, Huang, Zhang, Wan, Liu, Sun, Xia.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Feb;99(2):561-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-2845. Epub 2013 Nov 27.