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Anthocyanins offer special heart benefits

November 11, 2010

Anthocyanins are water-soluble plant pigments in the flavinoid class. They can appear purple, red, blue, and almost black depending on their concentration and pH. They give eggplants, purple cabbage, purple grapes, cherries, strawberries and blackberries much of their reddish to almost black color. Anthocyanins are also found in large amounts in blue or purple corn, purple potatoes, and black rice, olives, soybeans and sorghum. Smaller amounts of anthocyanins are found in red apples, asparagus, peas and even bananas have some.
Not all plants get their red to purplish coloring primarily from anthocyanins. Tomatoes get their red coloring mostly from lycopene. Beets get their purplish coloring largely from betalains. These other red to purple phytochemicals also have health benefits but do not impact blood lipids as the anthocyanins do.
The evidence continues to mount demonstrating that anthocyanins found in various plant foods favorably impact blood lipids, other cardiovascular disease risk factors, and slow or even help shrink atherocsclerotic plaques.
The amount of anthocyanins used in the study mentioned above could easily be obtained from eating just one anthocyanin-rich food once a day i.e.: blue corn, 2 ounces of eggplant or red grapes or a few ounces of blueberries, cherries, or raspberries per day. These foods contain not only anthocyanins but lots of other phytochemicals, nutrients, and fiber that may also improve cardiovascular disease risk factors and reduce heart disease and strokes. Plus fruits, vegetables, and whole grains rich in anthocyanins have a modest calorie density and so may aid weight loss. Weight loss also lowers LDL and raises HDL as well as reducing inflammation, insulin resistance, and blood pressure.

Article (November Newsletter)

Recipe of the Week
By Pamela Redwine

Spanish –Style Chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (16-ounce) package frozen pepper stir-fry
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; add chicken to pan. Cook 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides.
Add pepper stir-fry and next 5 ingredients; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 22 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed. Stir in capers and parsley. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings
Per Serving: Calories 353; Fat 7.6g; Protein 24.4g; Carbohydrate 44.3g; Fiber 3.3g; Cholesterol 82mg; Sodium 738mg
Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 1 1/2 vegetable, 2 lean meat

Recipe Source: Quick and Easy Diabetic Recipes

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