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This Antioxidant Type Shows Cholesterol Lowering Potential

Consuming the antioxidant anthocyanins may improve levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol according to a new study published in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Anthocyanins are antioxidants found in red/purplish fruits and vegetables, such as blackberries, beets, blueberries and cherries.

Previously, anthocyanins have been shown to lower cholesterol in animal studies but it was unknown if similar results could be replicated in humans.

To answer this question, Chinese scientists from Sun Yat-Sen University conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. The trial included 120 people aged between 40 and 65 with abnormal blood lipid levels (high cholesterol and/or high levels of triglycerides).

The participants were randomly assigned to receive 2 daily doses of 160 mg of anthocyanins (the amount found in ½ a cup of blueberries) or a placebo for 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks, the researchers observed a 13.7% increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in the anthocyanin group, compared to only 2.8% in the placebo group.

On the other hand, LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) decreased by 13.6% in the anthocyanin group, compared to an increase of 0.6% in the placebo group.

Many factors contribute to high cholesterol, some of which you cannot control. However, there are many things you can do to control cholesterol levels including eating nutritious foods, avoiding saturated fats, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.

Some foods such as fatty fish, walnuts, oatmeal, and oat bran have also been shown to help manage cholesterol levels. It also appears that foods high in the antioxidant anthocyanin such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries and legumes may soon be added to the list.

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