[Make no changes to your diet or therapies until you consult with your doctor.]
Almost any fruit or vegetable, largely, RED, PURPLE, or BLUE, is healthier for you.
If your mouth begins to water at the thought of munching into a purple plum, or a slice of fresh watermelon, or delicious blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries, or cherries…it is likely because of millions of years of evolution that has taught you to easily spot and recognize fruits and vegetables which are rich in anthocyanins, a healthy component of food associated to fruits and vegetables rich in those three colors. Even ancient folklore records medicines made from berries and plant parts rich in those colors.
As an example, ancient “medicine” included extracts from the large red flowers of the Hibiscus. That concoction was used in ancient folk remedies to treat suspected liver diseases, fevers, and even as a diuretic to rid the body of excessive water build up. Other brews and potions were made from a variety of other colorful berries and plant parts to treat suspected vision disorders.
Science is proving that some of those medicines in old tales may have been successful at treating some diseases because of the anthocyanins within the plant parts use in the mixtures.
Today, modern science allows researchers to isolate various components of some of those old folklore remedies. One component of particular interest is called anthocyanins, a member of the flavanoids family, and prominent in fruits and vegetables rich in the colors of red, purple and blue. By using carefully controlled experiments, scientists have determined anthocyanins in those old remedies may have explained some of the successful outcomes.
In one study published in November 2013, anthocyanins tested so well that the study concluded that anthocyanins, “…reflect a shift to an improvement of cholesterol efflux capacity of HDL and may provide…cardioprotective effects.” See End Note #1 That same study mentions, “cholesterol efflux capacity was increased [by] 20.0% [compared to] the placebo group.” See End Note #1
In layperson terms, science, that is, evidence-based research, proves that anthocyanins, found in red, purple, and blue fruits and vegetables, improves good cholesterol, HDL, reduces bad cholesterol, LDL, and SIGNIFICANTLY!! INCREASES our efflux capacity. In other words, it’s great for the inner lining of our arteries and that means its good for the rest of the body, too. [ To learn more about efflux capacity and how that saves lives, read my Nugget “YOUR EFFLUX CAPACITY…Not Same as Flux Capacitor in Movie Back to Future.” by click here, or “An APO a Day Keeps The Doctor Away.” by clicking here. ]
Science has uncovered benefits to anthocyanins in a number of other instances.
- “…visual acuity can be markedly improved,… and … night vision or overall vision…” See End Note #2
- “…reduce cancer cell proliferation and to inhibit tumor formation.” See End Note #2
- “Protection from heart attacks…and to inhibit platelet formation and enhance nitric oxide (NO) release.” See End Note #2
Here’s a starter list, but not a complete list, of foods high in anthocyanins…Though almost all fruits and vegetables are good for optimizing health, consider increasing your consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods, too:
- Blue-, black-, and red-berries and grapes
- Plums, prunes
- Red cabbage and any red vegetables such as red peppers, radish, asparagus, etc.
- Red and black rice
- Beans, the red, black ones in particular
- Sweet potatoes, carrots especially purple carrots
- Red onions
- “Anthocyanin Supplementation Improves HDL-Associated Paraoxonase 1 Activity and Enhances Cholesterol Efflux Capacity in Subjects With Hypercholesterolemia” By Zhu, Yat-Sen, Huang, Zhang, Xia. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 99(2). November 2013 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2013-2845 · Source: PubMed.
- “Anthocyanins and Human Health: An In Vitro Investigative Approach.” By Mary Ann Lila. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2004 Dec 1; 2004(5): 306–313. doi: 10.1155/S111072430440401X.