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Why do fruits have different colors? For the phytonutrients. They are responsible for giving vegetables such bright and characteristic colors, so that, the more intense the color, the higher the concentration of phytonutrients. They can be found not only in fruits and vegetables, but also in cereals and seeds, legumes and nuts.
The flavonoids, and within them, standing out in importance, anthocyanins, are the main phytonutrients to highlight in purple and blue vegetables. In general, these compounds are antioxidants, and therefore protect against cellular aging, although some of them also exert protective functions in the brain or cardiovascular system.
1. Verbal dexterity: In particular, the anthocyanidins present in blueberries, blackberries and grapes have been linked in recent studies with an increase in verbal dexterity. Although this peculiarity can be very useful in the elderly, it is no less so in childhood, since it is when the connections in the brain are being formed and can benefit from this function. In particular cases such as bilingual children or those with learning difficulties, they become even more important. In addition to verbal dexterity, anthocyanidins are also associated with an increase in short-term memory and visual acuity, although these are only preliminary results and there are no firm conclusions in this regard.
2. Combat yeast infections: The resveratrol found in grapes is an antifungal agent, whose function is to fight those infections caused by fungi. With the arrival of heat, fungal infections begin to proliferate and increase in beaches and swimming pools, and this phytonutrient can help, along with the treatment that the health professional deems appropriate, to combat them. Studies deepening this and other possible functions are currently being carried out.
3. Prevents urinary infections: The proanthocyanidins present in blueberries increase protection against urinary infections. It is relatively common among young girls, especially when they begin to use the toilet alone, to get cystitis. Also among pregnant women. Proanthocyanidins protect the bladder against colonization by the bacteria that cause these infections, as they prevent its adherence to target tissues. Cranberry juice seems to be the most effective preventive treatment, being useful even in cases of recurrent cystitis.
4. Improvement of motor skills: Flavonoids in general, according to very current research, help improve motor skills, those necessary to perform movements such as walking, running or jumping, in addition to fine motor skills, the delicate movements of hands and fingers. From birth, the milestones reached in the motor development of babies allow the health professional to assess their progress. In addition, fine motor skills will allow the baby to use their hands and fingers to grasp and examine objects and, later, will help to handle the pen with skill. The presence of flavonoids in the children's diet will favor the development of these abilities.
5. Increases memory: Flavonoids are also useful to maintain memory and stimulate retentive capacity, that very useful tool for schoolchildren, especially during exam time.
Grapes, blackberries, figs, plums, aubergines, red cabbage, blueberries and plums or raisins, are the most representative foods of this valuable group.
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