The powerful colors in berries and heart health

The powerful colors in berries and heart health

Can the colors in berries help prevent heart attacks?

Let’s look at the colors in berries and hearth health.

Berries contained antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are the compounds that give berries their red, blue, or purple colors. These anthocyanins help regulate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory systems in our bodies. Now, a study in China suggests that anthocyanins found in the colors of berries may also have heart health benefits. Therefore there is a connection between the colors in berries and hearth health.

Inflammation is typically caused by an unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle. This type of inflammation is called “chronic inflammation.” Heart disease is developed partly by inflammation because it oxidizes the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in your body and promotes plaque in the arteries.

A study conducted by researchers from China’s Sun Yat-Sen University and Shaoguan University in China showed that the anthocyanins in berries greatly reduced pro-inflammatory proteins, lowered LDL cholesterol, and promoted HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).

As the Chinese team noted, “This is the first report that long-term supplementation with purified anthocyanins can inhibit the inflammatory response in hypercholesterolemic [high-cholesterol-level] subjects.”

They also conducted a cell study showing that decreases in these three inflammatory markers were greater when cells were exposed to the anthocyanin mixture versus individual anthocyanin compounds. 

This suggests that the various anthocyanins in the mixture may synergistically operate to inhibit the inflammatory response. Further, these in vitro findings support our observations in human subjects that anthocyanins can remarkably regulate the levels of inflammatory cytokines in hypercholesterolemic subjects,” the researchers state.

For the entire article.

  • Balzer J, Rassaf T, Heiss C, Kleinbongard P, Lauer T, Merx M, Heussen N, Gross HB, Keen CL, Schroeter H, Kelm M. Sustained benefits in vascular function through flavanol-containing cocoa in medicated diabetic patients a double-masked, randomized, controlled trial. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Jun 3;51(22):2141-9.
  • Zhu Y, Ling W, Guo H, Song F, Ye Q, Zou T, Li D, Zhang Y, Li G, Xiao Y, Liu F, Li Z, Shi Z, Yang Y. Anti-inflammatory effect of purified dietary anthocyanin in adults with hypercholesterolemia: A randomized controlled trial. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012 Aug 17. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Zhu Y, Xia M, Yang Y, Liu F, Li Z, Hao Y, Mi M, Jin T, Ling W. Purified anthocyanin supplementation improves endothelial function via NO-cGMP activation in hypercholesterolemic individuals. Clin Chem. 2011 Nov;57(11):1524-33. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2011.167361. Epub 2011 Sep 16.
  • For more about berries and health benefits.
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