Flavonoids – Natural antioxidants
Flavonoids are powerful, natural antioxidants that work to protect the body’s cells from the potential damage thought to be caused by free radicals. Flavonoids can be found in certain every day foods such as fruit and vegetables.
The importance of one type of Flavonoid – Anthocyanins
Of special interest are a particular group of flavonoids called anthocyanins. These can be found in the pigments of purple, dark blue and red fruits such as the black elderberry (Mateus et al 2004). It is the activity of the anthocyanin pigments that give the black elderberry powerful antioxidant action.
Elderberries may contain more than 1% of anthocyanins and other polyphenols. The colour of the berries is mainly due to the presence of the anthocyanin cyanidin-3-glucoside which has 3.5 times the antioxidative activity than that of a vitamin E analogue.
The anthocyanins that occur naturally in the black elderberry are some of the most potent in the plant world. Therefore they can be extremely effective at preventing free radicals from causing any damage and have a remarkable ability which may help to stimulate the body’s immune system. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the highest concentration of anthocyanins are found in black elderberries – this is nearly double the amount found in any other fruit and almost 5 times higher than blueberries.