The Color Of Bone Health: Discover The Pigment That Builds Your Bones - Save Our Bones

Today you’ll discover the flavonoid plant pigment that has been scientifically proven to increase bone density both in the spine and hips. The best part is that this powerful bone-builder can be found in many every-day delicious brightly colorful foods.

You see, the food industry often uses artificial colors to give appealing hues to all sorts of foods, from cereal to candy. But they are using toxic substances to trick us, because in nature, colorful foods are full of potent nutrients. So it’s only natural that we are attracted to them.

What Are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids are a type of polyphenol, which are antioxidants found in plants. There is an enormous number of polyphenols – more than 8000, divided into over a dozen different classes. Flavonoids are one of these classes.

Once called “tannins,” flavonoids are pigments that account for the rich reds, oranges, blues, greens, and purples in foods like blueberries, cherries, apricots, cabbage, and other fruits and vegetables.

Flavonoids Are Antioxiodants

Savers already know how important antioxidants are for bone health – they prevent oxidative damage from destroying your bones. Flavonoids work in tandem with Vitamin C, and they they enhance each other’s antioxidant function.

Flavonoids also keep inflammation under control. The initial response of the body to injury is inflammation, and this is a good thing – the increased blood flow to the injured area aids healing. But this inflammatory action must be kept in check so it does not become chronic. When this happens, you lose bone – in fact, chronic inflammation can lead to osteoporosis.1

A Norwegian study found that anthocyanins from berries reduced levels of transcription factor NF-kB, which is responsible for many inflammatory responses in the body.2

Anthocyanin: Antioxidant Extraordinaire

There are actually hundreds of anthocyanins, such as peonidin, delphinidin, and cyanidin. Besides their specific role improving hip and spine density (more on that later), these amazing plant chemicals provide numerous essential health benefits:

  • Promote cardiovascular health
  • Regulate inflammatory responses
  • Improve brain function
  • Protect DNA integrity

Research suggests that anthocyanins facilitate communication between cells by regulating intercellular signal pathways. This directly influences the survival and growth of cells, an absolutely crucial factor in your health – including your bone health.
These important phytochemicals are found in a number of Foundation Foods in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, so if you’re following the Program, you’re already eating these healthful fruits and vegetables.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, many of these foods are coming into season very soon.

Foods Rich In Anthocyanins

  • Cabbage (especially red or purple)
  • Strawberries
  • Cranberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Peaches (especially red-fleshed varieties)
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Eggplant (with peel)
  • Pansies and violas (yes, these are edible flowers!)
  • Plums
  • Blueberries

Not only are these foods are chock-full of anthocyanins; they contain other bone-healthy Foundation Supplements and antioxidants as well, such as quercetin, Vitamin C, manganese, beta-carotene, Vitamin K, and B vitamins. The bone-building foods described in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program encourage you to eat many different foods which help your bones in a variety of different ways.

This is why the Program emphasizes obtaining nutrition from whole foods as much as possible.

Study Confirms Anthocyanins From Foods Increase Bone Density

A fascinating study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research showed distinct bone density improvement among participants who regularly ate foods rich in flavonoids (including anthocyanins).

The study concludes that:

[T]otal flavonoid intake was positively associated with BMD, with effects observed for anthocyanins and flavones at both the hip and spine, supporting a role for flavonoids present in plant-based foods on bone health”.3

Researchers also found that anthocyanins stood out for their bone-building attributes:

“[T]he magnitude of effect was greatest for anthocyanins”.3

Once again, the importance of whole foods (not drugs) for optimal nutrition and bone health is proven. If you’re wondering about how to prepare and enjoy these bone-healthy foods, I encourage you to take a look at the latest companion to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program: the Bone Appétit recipe book.

Savers have asked for a cookbook that shows creative, delicious ways to incorporate Foundation Foods into a bone-healthy diet. Bone Appétit does just that, with over two hundred scrumptious recipes that you can easily prepare and enjoy as part of the 80/20 Save Our Bones nutritional plan.

And of course, many dishes incorporate the very foods listed above, so you’ll get plenty of anthocyanins as you eat your way to better bone health!

Till next time,


1 McLean, RR. “Proinflammatory cytokines and osteoporosis.” Current Osteoporosis Reports. 2009 Dec.; (7)4: 134-9. Web.

2 Karlsen, Anette L., et al. “Anthocyanins Inhibit Nuclear Factor-B Activation in Monocytes and Reduce Plasma Concentrations of Pro-Inflammatory Mediators in Healthy Adults.” Journal of Nutrition. August 2007, Volume 137, Pages 1951-1954. Web.

3 Welch, A., et al. “Habitual flavonoid intakes are positively associated with bone mineral density in women.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2012 Sep;27(9): 1872-8 doi: 10.1002/jbmr. 1649. Web.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. joyce s.

    I take the Take Care Bone health calcium, with algae,etc.–this one calcium you said was a great one to take a few years ago. I was wondering if I added one Strontium capsule maybe 2-3 times a week to strengthen even more would be beneficial. I have not taken any medications for maybe 6 yrs or so. I do Yoga (cardio) 2x a week & walk 3 miles 4 days a week, but want to do kore to strengthen my hip & especially spine. I fell 5 yr ago & broke 3 vertrabrae and do not want ot break anything else. I have an office job, but am up walking quite a bit all day long. Can yo uadvise? Thanks. Joyce

  2. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Good Evening Vivian,

    Who Knew That Flavonoids Could Be So Beneficial To You. Thank You Very Much For Sharing This Information With Us.

    Have A Wonderful Evening. Take Good Care Of Yourself, And Stay Well.


  3. Jean Herndon

    I have osteopororius of the spine -3.3 and osteopenia of the hip 1.9. My doctor thinks I should be taking the shot Prolia twice a year. I am 72 years old. I am so confused about what to do. Thank for your advise.

  4. Elizabeth

    Thanks for all your excellent exercise advice and recipes. I try to keep on my feet, running, walking, taking aerobics and pilates classes, despite having osteoporosis, so far so good, keeping fit and well. I tried your recipe for Super Duper Yogurt Parfait, 100% alkalising and with zinc, manganese and copper. It’s delicious and easy to prepare. I’ve passed on this recipe to several friends.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am so glad you like the recipe, Elizabeth! And good for you for sharing it with others. 🙂



    • Customer Support

      Hi Virginia! Please check your e-mail for a message from our Customer Service department. 🙂

  6. Marlene Villar

    Dear Vivian,
    Thank you very much for sharing all the excellent informations.
    Despite that I just came to know your website last month, I believe and have faith that in GOD’S timing, HE will reverse what was lost and be
    restore through natural way. For the past ten years, I had been taking
    different medications for osteoporosis ( Fosamax, actonel 35 and 75mg,
    prolia,and actonel DR. ) with no improvement at all. So,last march 30
    I stopped taking actonel dr. Thank you very much for the SAVEOUR
    BONESPROGRAM BOOK. Vivian, truly you are a blessing to all of us.
    May GOD richly bless and continue to encourage you and use you
    for HIS glory until HE comes. Take care always. Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Marlene, thank you for sharing those kind words, and for your wonderful attitude! You will go far with your positive outlook. 🙂

  7. Elise

    I read and try to follow your recommendations and although I had been diagnosed with osteopenia (?) and prescribed in 2010 Fosamax, I knew from your articles not to take it and read and partake in all the good foods and supplement you advised. I am now a year and a few months into menopause and found some bleeding and went to see my GYN. I was given an endometrial biopsy and now await results. My GYN saw that my last bone test was in 2010 and wants another one done, but very hesitant since she along with my general MD want me on some form of bone strengthening drug. Will you please tell me how common all this could be? Being diagnosed with the start of osteoporosis and now some break-through bleeding after menopause has me nervous. I try to stay fit, exercise and eat right and still feel I have to worry that I am not doing enough.
    Thank you Vivian for any advice you may have.

  8. Shirley C.

    I was happy to see only one food from the Nightshade group of plants in the list of recommended foods for bone heath in this article. If I eat nightshades, my legs ache at night and ruins my sleep. Anyone have suggestions how to enjoy a pasta meal without tomato sauce? Other meals I’ve figured out healthy substitutes but this meal has me stumped. Thanks for any help

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You can make delicious pasta sauces using olive oil and other veggies – even with fruits! The Pasadena Citrus Pasta dish in Bone Appetit is a perfect example. Just take 2 oranges, some zest and their juice. Simmer 1/4 cup sliced green onions and the orange juice and zest. Add 1 cup of milk substitute (I use almond milk) and simmer a little more. It’s really delicious! And remember you can add bone-healthy veggies to any pasta dish. There are many more bone-healthy pasta dishes in Bone Appetit. I think you’ll really enjoy them!

  9. M. E. Hashmat

    Dear Vivian, my bone scan this week showed my lumber vertebrae showed more bone loss than the last scan. On average it went from –minus-2.8 to—–minus3.4(with L4 at minus 4.
    Are there any special exercises I could do to improve this. I follow your advise and appreciate your continued advice and informative information
    Regards, Marian H.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Marian, fortunately there are many exercises you can do to increase your bone density. If you don’t have Densercise yet, I urge you to try it. It’s specifically designed for that purpose and all you need is 15 minutes 3 times a week. And also check out the Weekend Challenges, where I give additional targeted exercises you can try in the comfort of your own home. Let us know of your progress 🙂

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