When it comes to nutrients that are essential for whole-body wellness, antioxidants definitely take the cake. Profoundly important for anti-aging and disease prevention, antioxidants may also be effective in killing off bacteria, protecting against viruses, and lowering your risk of infection. But even antioxidants are a broad category since there are so many different types.
Anthocyanins are a special group of antioxidants. These flavonoid pigments show up as the purples, blues, blacks (and sometimes reds) that we see in certain fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The pigment is found inside of the plant tissues, which attracts pollinators and beneficial animals that eat them and disperse the seeds. Although they all have the same basic core structure, there are actually over 500 different anthocyanins, which have been identified in plants.
From a health standpoint, anthocyanins have been used in herbal folk medicine for thousands of years! Now, modern science backs up their benefits as well: recent trials suggest a strong link between anthocyanins and disease prevention and overall wellness. In fact, let’s take a look at some of the incredible potential health benefits of anthocyanins below!
- Reduce inflammation
- Protect the brain from neurological damage
- Regulate cholesterol and blood flow
- Relax overworked blood vessels
- Control the symptoms of diabetes
- Improve eyesight
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Inhibit the promotion and progression of tumor cells
Pretty amazing, right? So when it comes to finding these incredible phytochemicals in foods, the great news continues—there is a diverse selection to choose from.
Some of the most potent natural sources include:
- Acai berries
- Maqui berries
- Purple cabbage
- Purple grapes
- Black soybeans
- Black sesame seeds
If we’re really looking at concentration though, hands down, two of the very best sources of anthocyanins on the planet are acai berries and maqui berries…by far. Acai powder is sourced from organic acai berries in the Amazon rainforest and freeze-dried to create a pure powder that retains all the nutrients and flavors of the delicious fruit. Acai is absolutely packed with anthocyanins—a fact that’s easy to see via the rich dark color of the powder. Since anthocyanins can help protect the skin, this concentration is part of the reason why acai is often called “the beauty berry.”
Maqui berries are the fruits of evergreen shrubs that grow in the Patagonia mountains of southern Chile. These purple berries are so high in anthocyanins, they’re actually used as a purple dye in some parts of the world—and that same highly dense purple flavonoid quality is what ranks maqui as one the top antioxidant foods in the world. Maqui also contains vitamin C, fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, and many other micronutrients. Adding maqui powder to your juices, smoothies, and desserts is an easy and tasty way to reap anthocyanin’s anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Getting more anthocyanins in your diet is as simple as stocking up on some of the most beautiful foods on in nature. Enjoy the power of purple!