antiaging effects of anthocyaninsThe last time you grabbed a handful of anthocyanin-packed grapes or sprinkled blueberries over your oatmeal, you were probably focused more on savoring a nice pop of sweetness, or infusing a few healthy vitamins and minerals into your diet, than getting a dose of anthocyanins to help you combat the effects of aging.

You may have heard of the term antioxidants, and you may know that they are good for you. What you may not know is precisely how they work, and how they tie into the anti-aging power of anthocynanins.

Antioxidants fight free radicals, and that’s very important for your health and your longevity. Free radicals are the result of cell oxidation. When you cut your finger, for example, your cells are exposed to oxygen, in a process referred to as oxidative stress. Our bodies are designed to handle oxidative stress to some degree. But if we get walloped by too much stress — brought on by toxins in our foods (due to pesticides, chemicals added in processing, etc.) and in our environment (pollution, smoking, etc.) — our bodies can’t compensate properly. This is when the formation of free radicals can get out of hand. Free radicals damage healthy cells.  Antioxidants like anthocyanins help stop oxidation, therefore playing a crucial role in fighting the effects of free radicals.

Anthocyanins are technically pigments, found in a number of flowers and plants. Anthocyanins are what gives berries and grapes that bright, eye-catching color that makes them some of the loveliest fruits around. You can also find a healthy dose of anthocyanins in bright-hued veggies like eggplants, red cabbage and beets. Researchers have found that anthocyanins include a whopping 150 flavanoids, making them a diverse group of anti-aging molecules. Here are some of the anti-aging benefits of anthocyanins:

Anthocyanins are Inflammation Fighters: Chronic inflammation is associated with accelerated aging. Inflammation releases oxidants, which damage tissue. Anthocyanins are highly effective anti-inflammatories, and help inhibit oxidants, thus helping to neutralize the effects of inflammation.

Anthocyanins are Blood Vessel Boosters: Your blood vessels play a crucial role in keeping your heart, and the rest of you, running efficiently. Anthocynanins help prevent LDL oxidation in your blood vessels, which can lead to atherosclerosis. Healthy blood vessels can help you live a longer life!

Anthocyanins are Collagen Defenders: Collagen is a protein that connects your skin tissue, which is more easily damaged as you age. Anthocyanins helps prevent free radicals from damaging your skin tissue, thus helping you look younger longer!

So don’t forget to add some bright fruits and veggies to your daily meals. You’ll not just be eating well. You may be helping yourself live longer, too!

Originally posted 2013-10-07 16:00:32.

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