Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid, a class of compounds with antioxidant effects. Found naturally in a number of foods, anthocyanins are the pigments that give red, purple, and blue plants their rich coloring. In addition to acting as antioxidants and fighting free radicals, anthocyanins may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.
Found naturally in a number of foods, anthocyanins are the pigments that give red, purple, and blue plants their rich coloring. In addition to acting as antioxidants and fighting free radicals, anthocyanins may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.
Anthocyanins are phenolic compounds found throughout the plant kingdom, being frequently responsible for the blue to red colors found in flowers, fruits and leaves. In wine grapes, they develop during the stage of veraison when the skin of red wine grapes changes color from green to red to black. As the sugars in the grape increase during ripening so does the concentration of anthocyanins. In most grapes anthocyanins are found only in the outer cell layers of the skin, leaving the grape juice inside virtually colorless. Therefore, to get color pigmentation in the wine, the fermenting must needs to be in contact with the grape skins in order for the anthocyanins to be extracted. Hence, white wine can be made from red wine grapes in the same way that many white sparkling wines are made from the red wine grapes of Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier. The exception to this is the small class of grapes known as teinturiers, such as Alicante Bouschet, which have a small amount of anthocyanins in the pulp that produces pigmented juice.
Anthocyanins, the pigments responsible for spectacular displays of vermilion in the leaves of deciduous trees, have long been considered an extravagant waste of a plant's resources. Contemporary research, in contrast, has begun to show that the pigments can significantly influence the way a leaf responds to environmental stress. Anthocyanins have been implicated in tolerance to stressors as diverse as drought, UV-B, and heavy metals, as well as resistance to herbivores and pathogens.
By absorbing high-energy quanta, anthocyanic cell vacuoles both protect chloroplasts from the photoinhibitory and photooxidative effects of strong light, and prevent the catabolism of photolabile defence compounds. Anthocyanins also mitigate photooxidative injury in leaves by efficiently scavenging free radicals and reactive oxygen species. Far from being a useless by-product of the flavonoid pathway, these red pigments may in some instances be critical for plant survival.
Anthocyanins are colored water-soluble pigments belonging to the phenolic group. The pigments are in glycosylated forms. Anthocyanins responsible for the colors, red, purple, and blue, are in fruits and vegetables. Berries, currants, grapes, and some tropical fruits have high anthocyanins content.
Anthocyanins have been reported as having the capacity to lower blood pressure, improve visual acuity, reduce cancer cell proliferation, inhibit tumor formation, prevent diabetes, lower the risk of CVD modulate cognitive and motor function. These are also reported to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity.
Anthocyanins belong to a parent class of molecules called flavonoids synthesized via the phenylpropanoid pathway. They occur in all tissues of higher plants, including leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits. Anthocyanins are derived from anthocyanidins by adding sugars. They are odorless and moderately astringent.
Anthocyanins are a class of water-soluble flavonoids widely present in fruits and vegetables. Dietary sources of anthocyanins include red and purple berries, grapes, apples, plums, cabbage, or foods containing high levels of natural colorants.
Which foods contain anthocyanins? Anthocyanins are found in high concentrations in blackcurrants, blackberries and blueberries, as well as in aubergine (in the skin), red cabbage, cranberries and cherries.
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has established an acceptable daily intake of 2.5 mg/kg per day for anthocyanins from grape-skin extracts but not for anthocyanins in general.
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