top of page

Anthocyanins - blue & purple

Anthocyanins are a group of plant pigments commonly found in purple/blue-ish fruits and vegetables or in darker pigmented black beans (3) and also in some red fruits and vegetables (some anthocyanins may be red in color but there are also other groups of red colored plant pigments). They may help cardiovascular health by reducing risk of blood clots. (1) The group of plant pigments may also help protect lung health from the effects of aging, (2), and reduce the risk of vision loss or cognitive decline with aging. (7)

Anthocyanins also may help reduce cancer risk and help reduce oxidative stress due to promoting the Nrf2 pathway, an important gene and protein for immune function and our own production of antioxidants. (Anthocyanins Nrf2) More information about Nrf2 Promoting Foods and phytonutrients.

Foods containing large amounts of anthocyanins include in order of most to least (note raspberries are on the list twice): Black raspberries, black currants, blueberries, blackberries, red (purple) cabbage, black plums, red radish, red raspberries. (2) Grapes, strawberries, cherries, pomegranate, purple carrots or purple sweet potatoes, and eggplant are also sources of anthocyanins. The health protecting benefits of anthocyanins also protect the plant from damage by sun/UV light, cold temperatures, or drought and also may help reduce risk of the plant being eaten by predator species such as insects, birds or rodents. (7)

Black beans are also a very good source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, and a variety of trace minerals including molybdenum, manganese, magnesium, iron and zinc. (3) Cuban Black Beans, a traditional recipe for cooking the dry beans. (4)

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./


  1. Andreas R Rechner, Christine Kroner, Anthocyanins and colonic metabolites of dietary polyphenols inhibit platelet function, Thrombosis Research, Vol 116, Issue 4, 2005, Pages 327-334, (1)

  2. Dr. Ann Wellness, Foods Highest in Anthocyanins (In Order From Most to Least), (2)

  3. Black beans, George Mateljan Foundation, World's Healthiest Foods, (3)

  4. Mindy, My Cuban Great Grandmother's Black Beans,

  5. Anthocyanins Nrf2, Google search results.

  6. G10. Nrf2 Promoting Foods,

  7. Anthocyanin Benefits the Brain, Eyes, & Immune System,


bottom of page