The Power of Anthocyanidins: How These Potent Plant Pigments Boost Your Health

The 8th of June is Global Wellness Day. Global Wellness Day is observed internationally and is dedicated to promoting the importance of living well. Celebrated annually on the second Saturday in June, it aims to inspire people to take small, actionable steps towards a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. The day aims to encourage people to engage in various wellness activities, such as exercise, mindfulness, healthy eating, and self-care practices. We decided to write a blog post in honour of Global Wellness Day with a focus on the importance of including phytonutrients in your diet.

What Exactly Are Phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients (also called phytochemicals) are a group of active compounds found in all plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

Phytonutrients are responsible for the vibrant colouring of the plant plus they give the plant their natural immunity and disease-fighting properties. It has been shown that these health-protective benefits transfer over to humans when we consume these foods!

Isn't that wonderful?

It has been found that colourful plants produce thousands of natural chemicals (phytonutrients) as an adaptive response to help them maintain an evolutionary advantage in reaction to their environments, such as to protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats.

A Special Focus On Anthocyanidins

Anthocyanidins are a class of phytonutrients that belong to the flavonoid family of plant compounds, specifically a subgroup of flavonoids called anthocyanins.

These compounds are responsible for the vibrant red, purple, and blue colouring of many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. As a subgroup of phytonutrients, they play a significant role in the pigmentation of plants, attracting pollinators and providing protection against various environmental stressors.

Common Anthocyanidins Include:

Cyanidin: Found in red berries, apples, plums, and red cabbage.
Delphinidin: Found in blueberries, cranberries, and aubergine.
Pelargonidin: Found in strawberries, raspberries, and radishes.
Peonidin: Found in blueberries, cranberries, and cherries.
Petunidin: Found in certain types of berries and grapes.
Malvidin: Found in grapes, wine, and some berries.

Collectively, these purple, red, and blue coloured plant chemicals have been shown to exert important health benefits such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. They have also been associated with potential protective effects in cardiovascular health, cancer prevention and other chronic diseases.

Anthocyanidins have attracted a considerable amount of attention particularly due to their potentially significant benefits on cognitive health.


Anthocyanidins might possess strong neuro (brain) protective effects in the following ways:


Studies on blueberries have found anthocyanins reduce inflammation in the brain, protect brain cells from oxidative damage, and improve cognitive function such as memory and learning, thus potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimers. 

Research into habitants of Okinawa Island in Japan showed that Okinawans suffer significantly fewer heart attacks than other countries and are twice as likely to survive one if they do. This may be due to the neuroprotective benefits of anthocyanins present in the purple sweet potato!

One of the distinctive features of Okinawa is its production of the purple sweet potato, also known as ‘Beni Imo’. It is suggested that many of the habitants of the island consume purple sweet potatoes everyday, they even make ice cream out of it!

Okinawa is famous for the longevity of its residents, often attributed to the purple sweet potato (alongside their rich social life and sense of purpose). The Okinawan diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world and the purple sweet potato has become a symbol of the healthy Okinawan lifestyle.

It can be difficult to find sweet potato in the UK, however there are plenty of other food sources of anthocyanins to choose from!


Foods Rich In Anthocyanidins Include:



Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, and raspberries

Black rice



Purple sweet potato

Red grapes

Red and purple cabbage

Red onions

We hope you have found this blog post helpful and that is has inspired you to start including more purple foods in your daily diet! There are lots of food sources to choose from (see above), enjoy the benefits and peace of mind that come with increasing these wonderful plants!