Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid, which is a class of compounds that have some pretty badass antioxidant effects. The great thing is that they are found naturally in a number of different foods…hmmmm eating with additional benefits. What’s more they are easy to spot too, anthocyanins are the pigments that give berries, red onions, kidney beans, pomegranates, and grapes their deep rich purple and red coloring. As well as acting as antioxidants and fighting those pesky free radicals, anthocyanins can offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties. In the skin they also help to deter collagen breakdown which happens naturally as we get older and leads to sagging, fine lines and wrinkles.
In herbal medicine, anthocyanin-rich substances have long been used to treat a number of conditions (including high blood pressure, colds, and urinary tract infections). But it is the more recent research suggests that anthocyanins may also help fend off major health problems, including heart disease, obesity and cancer.
Here are three delicious ways to get them into your diet:
Chia Seed Porridge with Berries
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup organic almond or coconut milk
- 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp all spice
- 1/8 tsp cardamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Your choice of berries for the topping, for example blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries
- Soaked raw almonds, walnuts & sunflower seeds
- Place almond or coconut milk and chia seeds in a bowl.
- Stir immediately for a minute or so to avoid clumping.
- Add spices as you stir, along with the vanilla.
- Allow to stand for 30-40 mins to thicken, or covered in the fridge overnight.
- Add berries, nuts and seeds to your liking.
- Scoff that thing down in a flash.
Red Onion and Purple Cabbage Coleslaw
For the Slaw:
- ½ red onion
- ½ red cabbage
- 1 carrot
- Any other veges you fancy too like finely chopped broccoli or courgettes (optional)
For the mayo:
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- A good pinch of white pepper
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1¼ cups light olive oil
- Curry powder to taste, if you want a bit of a kick (optional)
- Place all ingredients for the mayo except the oil in a narrow jug or jar. Place a wand mixer in the jar (this is key as it won’t work in a food processor because it needs the speed of the wand to make it emulsify), then add the oil.
- Whizz together, lifting the wand from the bottom of the jar to incorporate the oil. It will thicken to create a creamy mayonnaise.
- Add ¼ cup more oil if desired to create a thicker mayo or a little hot water to give a thinner consistency.
- It needs the clove of garlic because olive can be a bit bitter in mayo – especially if it’s not light, but this hides that well as does the curry powder if you choose to include it.
- Combine the mayo with the slaw – use as little or as much as you like to get your desired consistency. The leftover mayo will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge…but it might not last that long, it’s delicious.
Aubergine is another favourite anthocyanin, often referred to as a “brain food,” because the anthocyanin compound helps protect the fats (lipids) found in brain cell membranes. Although it is often found in Moussaka, aubergine also makes a good alternative to fries and they go great with that remaining mayo!
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and place some coconut oil on a baking tray to get hot
- Cut up your aubergine into ‘fries’ and then season with salt, pepper and some chilli flakes if you need to feel some fire.
- Place on the baking tray and coat with the coconut oil
- Bake for 20-25 minutes – or until brown. If you let them cool down a bit before eating, they’ll crisp up even further.
- If you’re sharing, prepare to defend the last one to the death.