Anthocyanins have been suggested as promising dietary compounds with an important role in human health. They are the largest group of water-soluble pigments in the plants, which are responsible for the red, purple and blue hues evident in fruits, vegetables, flowers and grains. As natural compounds of vegetables, fruits and red wines, anthocyanins are estimated to be widely consumed by humans with the estimated daily intake about 12.5 mg/d in the United States. Interest in anthocyanin-rich foods and extracts has intensified recently because of their possible health benefits. Anthocyanins have been shown to be potent antioxidants as well as anti-diabetic, anti-carcinogenic and having ocular effects among others. Findings of their beneficial health effects support their role as natural food colorants, functional foods and dietary supplements. The present article summarizes our knowledge on the bioavailability, antioxidant activity and healthenhancing components of anthocyanin-rich foods and extracts. In addition, their current and potential use as a natural food colorant, functional food and dietary supplement in the food and beverage industry is discussed.