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What are the Benefits of Anthocyanidins?

What are the Benefits of Anthocyanidins?

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Anthocyanidins are antioxidant flavonoid pigments found in red or purplish vegetables and fruits such as beets, purple cabbage, purple grapes, bilberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries. They are also responsible for rendering the colors to plums, petunias and pansies. Anthocyanidin extracts are also used as coloring agents in wines, fruit juices and beverages. They are important because of their positive impacts on health. In 12th century, quack healers recommended bilberry to combat menstrual problems. During World War II, Anthocyanidins were used to improve British pilots' night vision. Primitive humans consumed large amounts of anthocyanins as they ate mostly fruits, flowers and vegetables which got their color due to these pigments.



What are the chemical features of Anthocyanidins?

  • The salt derivative of the cation flavylium is anthocyanidin.
  • At the 2-position of the phenyl group different substituent's can be placed to make anthocyanidins.
  • The formula for flavylium cation is C15H11O
  • The molar mass of the anthocyanidin is 207.24g.mol
  • They have a slight astringent taste. Anthocyanins are also found in stems, flowers, leaves and roots of higher plants. 



What is the function of Anthocyanidin in plants?

Anthocyanidins render bright colors to the flowers. As a result, the flowers are successful in attracting different agents of pollination such as birds, bees etc. Animals are always attracted towards bright fruits. Naturally, they eat these colorful fruits and disperse seeds. Plants maintain their progeny owing to their bright anthocyanidin colors. Moreover, anthocyanidins protect the photosynthetic tissues from the direct rays of sun. These organic agents act as sunscreen for autotrophic plants.



What are the foods high in Anthocyanidins?

Fruits and vegetables such as blackberries have the highest amount of anthocyanidins. As per Linus Pauling Institute of Micronutrients, "blackberries have  89-211 /100mg, redgrapes : 25-92/100mg, blueberries : 67-183/100mg". Raspberries, strawberries, red onions, red cabbage and eggplants are also rich in Anthocyanidins



What are the health promtoing benefits of Anthocyanidins?

Anthocyanidins have been found to be very effective for a variety of health conditions. 

  • Effect on Nervous System: The human brain is prone to oxidative damages. Peroxynitrite nitration caused by tyrosine residues present in enzymes and proteins are responsible for brain damage. Nerve receptor sites are blocked by nitrated tyrosine. Active ingredient pelargonidin in Anthocyanidin prevent the nitration of tyrosine and restrict occurrence of any neurological damage caused to the nervous system.
  • Effect on Blood Vessels: Anthocyanidin can prevent atherosclerosis in large blood vessels. It can prevent the oxidation of low density lipoproteins in the blood vessels. Anthocyanidins present in bilberries are stronger antioxidants that vitamin C or even BHT (used as preservative). Anthocyanidins are also very effective in reducing stress on the blood vessels. Micro-capillary integrity is maintained by Anthocyanidins. The capillary walls are stabilized by Anthocyanidins. It is very effective in fighting "ischemia-reperfusion". In this condition, reduced oxygen supply creates oxidants that cause the white blood cells to stick to the capillary walls and increase the wall permeability which further causes capillary damage. This condition can be improved by taking fruits with high Anthocyanidin content.
  • Effect on Diabetes: Diabetes retinopathy can cause severe vision loss or even blindness. It occurs when the body itself tries to repair damaged capillaries, but in order to do so it produces excess of proteins. Anthocyanidins prevent leaking along with abnormal protein proliferation.
  • Effect on Eyesight: Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in Anthocyanidins improves night-vision. 
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