These natural, health-boosting substances give certain fruits their purple to reddish color. Not only does research show that anthocyanins have the capacity to boost short-term memory by 100 percent in just eight weeks, they also stimulate the burning of stored fat in the body to be used as fuel. A group of laboratory animals fed a high-fat diet along with anthocyanins gained 24 percent less weight than their counterparts fed only the fatty diet, according to research published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Anthocyanins are found in dark purple or red grapes, cherries, and berries, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
Carotenoids are the yellow, orange, and red pigments found in foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, papaya, peaches, and other similarly colored foods. Dark green vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens also contain high amounts of carotenoids. You may have heard about beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene, all of which are specific types of carotenoids. Not only do these nutrients help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging.
Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.