The Healing Pigments in Berries and Fruits
How Do Red, Greens, Blues, Yellow, and Purple Pigments Heal and Repair Your Body?
The powerful benefits derived from one of the subgroups of flavonoids—the anthocyanins are important to our health.
Anthocyanins fall into the category of phytochemicals called pigments. They bring in the spectrum colors ranging from crimson and magenta to violet and indigo. The major anthocyanins are the following: delphinidin, cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin and malvidin. For example, the reason blueberries contain the blueish purple color is because of the delphinidin and petunidin—these two pigments are deep blue/purple. If we go to red raspberries, they don’t make those pigments at all. They make almost exclusively cyanidin. They might make a little peonidin which is pink, but they make mostly cyanidin which is a reddish pigment. In raspberries that are very dark they just have a higher concentration of different cyanidin glycosides that make different derivatives.
The other major class of phytochemicals that are plant pigments are the carotenoids, which are part of the Terpenoid, a first level sub-grouping of phytochemicals. The carotenoids are yellow, orange, and some red hues as in carrots, squash and tomatoes. The carotenoids are one of the largest and most important classes of plant pigments.
Chemically they are sorted into two classes, the carotenes and the xanthophylls—each with unique biological activity. Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene (left side molecule, below) are void of any oxygen species, and are referred to as the carotenes, while those containing oxygen are known as the xanthophylls (right side molecule, below).
The long-conjugated chain is responsible for the orange color of beta-carotene.
Carotenoids, anthocyanins and chlorophyll are the major pigments in the plant world. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in abundance in the leaves and stems—making photosynthesis possible. In the Fall when the plant’s berry harvest has been completed, chlorophyll production is reduced and we see the leaves bleed through with reds and purples, as they are also loaded with anthocyanins or carotenoids. Different colors mean different flavonoids, and just as the different structures account for the different colors, the different colors provide different health benefits, and our bodies are designed to take in all of these molecules.
Now let’s look at the health benefits of anthocyanins.
Epidemiological studies suggest that consuming anthocyanins regularly can lower the risk of CVD, arthritis, diabetes and cancer due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Their phenolic structures laden with conjugated double bonds are responsible for their antioxidant capacity. Their double bonds are able to scavenge free radicals (ROS) such as superoxide anion, singlet oxygen, peroxides and hydroxyl radicals. (Prior and Wu 2006; also, Alam et al., 2021)
That’s four out of five of the major free radical categories that our bodies must control to maintain health.
anthocyanins the anthocyanins displayed numerous antitoxic and anticarcinogenic effects based on their ability to scavenge ROS which stimulated the expression of Phase 2 Proteins and ultimately reducing oxidative adducts in DNA and hindering mutagenesis. (Wang & Stoner, 2008).
Helping to prevent and even reverse cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis—is great, but there is more. Anthocyanins can even protect and enhance the cognitive functioning of the brain! Protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s. Who wouldn’t want to consume foods rich in anthocyanins? This is what led us in the quest for foods with anthocyanins as a big part of their high actives. This is why we chose the Phyto Power, High ORAC, Blueberry Extract, and No 7 as our Therapeutic Foods.
One of our favorites is the Phyto Power with its potent red, blue, and green polyphenols and anthocyanins from the wilds of Alaska.
Suggested use: 1-2 capsules a day.
- Alam, M. A., Islam, P., Subhan, N., Rahman, M. M., Khan, F., Burrows, G. E., ... & Sarker, S. D. (2021). Potential health benefits of anthocyanins in oxidative stress related disorders. Phytochemistry Reviews, 1-45.
- Prior, R. L., & Wu, X. (2006). Anthocyanins: structural characteristics that result in unique metabolic patterns and biological activities. Free radical research, 40(10), 1014-1028.
- Wang, L. S., & Stoner, G. D. (2008). Anthocyanins and their role in cancer prevention. Cancer letters, 269(2), 281-290.
We have developed our products based on scientific research and/or the practical experience of many healthcare practitioners. There is a growing body of literature on food based nutrition and supplements and their application in support of our health. Please use our products under the advisement of your doctor.
Lai et al. (2015) reported that total fruit intake (g/day) derived from a 217-item Food Frequency Questionnaire was obtained from 30,458 women (aged 35–69 years) at baseline from 1995–1998., the richest sources of phenolic compounds, correlated with improved cardiovascular health with an estimated 6–7% reduction in deaths from CVDs for every 80 g portion. This study concluded that total fruit intake rather than intake of a specific type of fruit is protective against CVD. In terms of specific types of fruits, commonly researched varieties include berries, such as blackberries, raspberries, black raspberries and blueberries, grapes, citrus fruit, pomegranates, strawberries and apples. These fruits are rich in polyphenols like flavanols, flavonols, anthocyanins, procyanidins, sterols, carotenoids, and hydroycinnamic acids. UK Women’s Cohort Study.