Berries Abound-Amazing Anthocyanins
Anthocyan… What? Anthocyanins! Yes, these antioxidant compounds are starting to get a lot of attention, and for good reason. They are plant pigments that give the bright purple and red colors to berry fruits and science is discovering a host of health benefits. In plants, anthocyanins resist light, pH, and conditions that would normally degrade the plant, so they act as its protector. When consumed in our diets, they serve a similar function in our bodies.
We find anthocyanins in a variety of plant based foods including some root and leafy vegetables such as eggplants, cabbage, beans, and onions, but they are found primarily in fruit. Berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries, are high in anthocyanins, and purple grapes, red wine, cherries, plums, and blood oranges have them as well.
What is so amazing about these compounds? So far, there have been many studies published that show anthocyanins may lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of having a heart attack, and overall may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Anthocyanins act as antioxidants. They block enzymes that cancers need to grow and deactivate some of the substances that promote their growth. Furthermore, some studies show berries can lower the risk of developing type two diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. In an aging population, eating berries can improve memory and may prevent cognitive decline by improving blood flow to the brain.
I am a life-long Texan, and we have our own cuisine called Tex-Mex which influences many of the new recipes I create. Inspired by this cuisine and the bountiful summer berry season, here is a delicious recipe to amp up your anthocyanins and antioxidants in a new way! It isn't exactly Mexican food, it isn't exactly American food, but what is: delicious!
Ingredients: (Use all organic ingredients for your best health!)
1 Cup Strawberries
½ Cup Blueberries
½ Cup Red Onion
¼ Cup Cilantro
¼ Cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (about 4 key limes)
Dash of salt and chili powder
Tortilla chips or baked tostadas for serving
Dice all ingredients except for blueberries. Set in a bowl and let sit, at least 30 minutes, to marry the flavors.
Nutrition Information: Calories: 83; Fat: .4 g; Protein: 1.4 g; Carbohydrates: 18 g; Sodium: 83 g; Potassium: 290 mg