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)
- Peaches (especially red-fleshed varieties)
- Eggplant (with peel)
- Pansies and violas (yes, these are edible flowers!)
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. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19968917
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. http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Anthocyanins-anti-inflammatory-properties-probed
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. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22549983