Anthocyanins can help improve heart health

Increased intakes of anthocyanins – antioxidant pigments from fruit and vegetables – could possible minimise blood vessels hardening and improve overall heart health.

According to a new study, increased intakes of anthocyanins were associated with lower stiffness of the arteries and improved blood pressure.

The research team, from the University of East Anglia and King’s College London, said: “These results are of public health importance because intakes of flavonoids associated with these findings are easily achievable in the habitual diet and make a significant contribution to the knowledge base needed to refine the current, rather general, fruit and vegetable dietary recommendations”.

This study is supposedly the first cross-sectional study to investigate the potential benefits to artery health and blood pressure from flavonoids.

Anthocyanins are a class of secondary plant metabolites called flavonoids, and they can be found in many fruits and berries and are known for their properties as pigments and antioxidant properties.

The possible heart health benefits of anthocyanins have already been reported.

Recently published results from a new clinical trial from China indicated that supplements of anthocyanins may reduce levels of inflammatory compounds in people with high cholesterol levels.

According to findings, 24 weeks of consuming 320 milligrams per day of anthocyanins were associated with reductions in inflammatory compounds like C-reactive protein (CRP) and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 of 22% and 12%, respectively.

The new cross-sectional study examined data from 1,898 women with an average age of 46. Food frequency questionnaires were used to collect dietary data and to allow the researchers to calculate intakes of total flavonoids and the subclasses flavanones, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, polymers, flavonols, and flavones.

The results also demonstrated that the highest average intakes of anthocyanins were linked with significantly lower systolic blood pressure, while arterial pressure was also significantly improved.

In addition, higher flavone intakes were linked to improved pulse wave velocity, which is a measure of how stiff the arteries are.

The research team said: “The intakes of anthocyanins associated with these findings could be incorporated into the diet by the consumption of 1-2 portions of berries daily and are, therefore, relevant for public health strategies to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

“The findings highlight the need for more intervention trials on anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich foods for the prevention and management of CVD because there have been limited previous randomised controlled trials for this subclass”.

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