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Anthocyanins are small biochemical metabolites belonging to a class of compounds called flavonoids. They are water soluble pigments and are responsible for the red, blue, purple and black colors in flowers, fruits, vegetables and several grains.1  Foods that are rich in anthocyanins include berries and selected varieties of cereals. To date, over 500 anthocyanins have been reported.2,3  These are mainly 3-glycoside anthocyanins. Plants produce four anthocyanins through a defence mechanism triggered by abiotic or biotic stress via the phenylpropanoid pathway.5  In plants under environmental stress or pathogen attack, anthocyanins exhibit their antioxidative mechanism by entrapping reactive oxygen species.

Anthocyanins are believed to impart several health benefits.6  Being vacuolar pigments pertaining to the class of flavonoids, anthocyanins derived from fruits and vegetables strongly correlate with various health benefits.7  Considering the diversity of the anthocyanin group, little is known on the quantity needed to achieve beneficial health outcomes. Standard cereals have been consumed since the beginning of civilization for their high calorie content. They have been cultivated to a considerable extent, despite being less resistant to environmental and biotic challenges still producing a large amount of food for a rapidly growing population. Amid this, colored cereals are foods that will change the way we eat and look at cereal grains. While standard cereals are adequate in providing the daily energy requirement, they often lack phytochemicals and other bioactive compounds, such as anthocyanins. The consumption of colored cereals creates the opportunity to achieve the desired health benefits from anthocyanins as well as delivering the calories needed for daily energy requirements. Chemical profiling of colored cereals has been applied to characterize anthocyanin content apart from identification and quantification of anthocyanins. Various nutritional interventions investigating the effect of high anthocyanin-containing foods on disease have reported numerous valuable findings.

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