Nearly one thousand anthocyanins and more than 15 anthocyanidins exist in the vegetal kingdom, although the greater part of them occurs rarely. Anthocyanins are derived from anthocyanidins by adding sugars. The term anthocyanin was initially coined to indicate the substance responsible for the colour of cornflowers and derives from the Greek term anthos 'flower' and kuanos 'blue' and refers to a group of water-soluble polyphenols that have colour pigments responsible for black, blue, lilac, mauve, pink, purple, red or violet colour of most flower and fruits. Anthocyanins are a water-soluble pigment and the colour will depend on the pH of the solution. They
are red when pH is below three, blue at pH higher than eleven and violet at neutral pH.
Bioflavonoids are produced by plants for self-protection against, sun, irradiation, diseases and biological enemies. With the harsh cold weather in central and southern Chile, and with high solar radiation in Chile, these factors guaranteed high anthocyanins in the fruits and berries that grow in that region.
Some of the most colourful foods contain these bioflavonoids which are most widely known for their powerful antioxidant properties and healing power inside the body They can help to slow down age-related motor changes, such as those seen in Alzheimer’s or Parkinson's disease and prevent the oxidisation of certain compounds and fight attacks on the body from harmful chemicals. The health benefits of anthocyanins includes anti-carcinogen qualities, better heart health and a range of other health benefits.
They increase vitamin C levels within cells, decrease the breakage of small blood vessels, protect against free-radical damage and help prevent destruction of collagen, the tissues under the skin, by helping the collagen fibres link together in a way that strengthens the connective tissue matrix. They also reduce blood glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity due to the reduction of retinol binding protein 4 so are useful in preventing diabetes and can help with treating obesity.
Myocardial ischemia means there is a reduced blood supply and oxygen to the heart muscle, usually due to atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. Its risk increases with age, diabetes, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol levels and smoking. When blood supply restores, after a period of ischemia reperfusion, injury to the tissues can occur. Bioflavonoids reduce oxidative damage to organ cells during reperfusion.
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