October 18, 2018
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you should eat fruits and vegetables. That's like telling someone they should breathe clean air and drink pesticide-free water and not sit naked on an ice block; common knowledge stuff.
But despite the universal recommendation to eat fruits and vegetables, few people know why, other than the usual vague generalities. Go ahead, ask someone. Ask your mother. Maybe she took an introductory nutrition class in college so she'll say, "Because of the riboflavin, honey," but she'd be only partly right.
The reason fruits and vegetables are good for us isn't only because of the vitamins and minerals in them (although they're certainly a plus), but because of the incredibly wide array of phytochemicals they contain.
Whenever you hear someone ascribe some miraculous power to a fruit or vegetable, like avocadoes cure cancer or that pomegranate gives you hefty, carrot-like erections, it's because of the biologically active compounds in plants known as phytochemicals.
Some, however, appear to be far more powerful than others and may keep your liver healthy, shore up your heart, give you super night vision, coerce your fat cells into disgorging fat, and preferentially cause nutrients to be stored in muscle. Luckily, the most powerful of these phytochemicals can easily be identified by their color.
Here's how the classification system breaks down:
It's possible to break them down even further and in different directions, but it's this last subcategory that contains phytochemicals of particular interest, and that's the anthocyanins.
They're found in teas, honeys, wines, nuts, olive oils, cocoa, cereals, and certain fruits and vegetables. Some foods, in particular though, are colored red, purple, or indigo (blue), and that means they're stuffed with anthocyanins.
It's the blue or indigo color that might be the most powerful of all, though.
Here's a short list of some of the things anthocyanins do:
As mentioned, any natural food that's red, indigo (blue), or purple likely contains a good deal of anthyocyanins, stuff like blueberries, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, eggplant, plums, grape juice, prunes, red wine, apples, red beans, red beets, purple rice, and strawberries.
The only problem is that the bioavailability of anthocyanins is ridiculously low. Studies have shown that after eating plant matter rich in anthocyanins, less than 1% were detectable in plasma and urine, which is all the more reason to eat as many of them on a regular basis as possible (the theory being that the more you eat, the more anthocyanins you jam through).
Alternately, and probably preferentially, you could take an anthocyanin supplement, one that contains isolated and concentrated anthocyanins (in this case, cyanadin 3-glucoside) in a gelucire base designed to increase absorption multi-fold. Indigo-3G® fits the bill.
Either way, you can't go wrong when you chew blue, are fed red, or slurple some purple.
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