Anthocyanins are a family of natural pigments classified into the group of flavonoids, considered to be responsible for the color and taste of many fruits and vegetables, i.e. berries. Anthocyanins are common components of the human diet. Besides their interest as colorant because of their coloring properties, the study of anthocyanin compounds stems from their wide applicability in the prevention and even in the treatment of various human diseases. However, various aspects of the pharmacological roles of anthocyanins remain in the dark, having still several obstacles to the development of robust diets or prescribing lines on consumption of anthocyanins. The chemical structure of anthocyanins determines in large measure its capacity and efficacy as an antioxidant agent. In this study, the following aspects are reviewed: the antioxidant effect of anthocyanin pigments; the oxidative stress, the bioavailability after intake and biological aspects of anthocyanins, the method for measuring the antioxidant activity of anthocyanins, the relationship between structure and activity; and the influence of the anthocyanins in the antioxidant activity of wines. Finally an overview of some potential uses in food industry is attempted mainly focusing in the anthocyanin encapsulation topic. Attention has been paid to the more recent publications in the field.
Part of the book: Flavonoids