A new research review has found that anthocyanins – the beneficial flavonoid compounds found in berries – help to decrease levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol in overweight individuals. The same results however weren’t observed in individuals with a healthy weight. 

In this latest review, researchers analysed the results of 12 studies carried out on the health effects of anthocyanins – the flavonoids that give berries their colour:

“Anthocyanins are the red-orange to blue-violet pigments present in many fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains, and other plant-derived foods. Interest in the biological effects of anthocyanins has grown because of their noted presence in the human diet, as well as their potential use as a value-added alternative to synthetic colorants in many food products.

The researchers found:
“An inverse relationship between anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich foods and CVD outcomes in epidemiological studies.” In simple terms, this means the more anthocyanins an individual consumes – the lower their CVD risks.

“This (adds) to existing scientific evidence from observational, animal, and mechanistic studies suggesting that anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich extracts may have the potential to affect markers of cardiovascular diseases.”

You can easily add more anthocyanins into your diet by consuming a rich variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables – the more the merrier!

Wallace T.C. et al. Systematic review of anthocyanins and markers of cardiovascular disease.  Nutrition published online, doi: 10.3390/nu8010032

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