The eat better, live better theme of the new year originates from good intention but is often informed by misinformation and poor health advice. Ditching fad diets and embracing nature’s oft-overlooked health boons is a must in 2022, and with that we examine the power of purple in our diets. T
Extensive research shows that fruits and vegetables high in anthocyanins are nutrient rich and can often be identified by their violet and dark-blue hues. Anthocyanins are polyphenols, part of the functional foods which provide health benefits above and beyond the body’s basic nutritional needs. This family of naturally fortified compounds contains fatty acids, probiotics, and prebiotics.
Common anthocyanin-rich foods include an assortment of fruits and vegetables—plums, eggplants, blueberries, grapes, cherries, purple peppers, and cabbages. The Russian blue potato is a nutrient-dense alternative to other spuds and is heavier in iron, which can improve red blood cell production and Vitamin C levels.
Nutritional experts tout the added antioxidant properties of foods with a purple pigment. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease and are also connected with boosting brain power and possibly slowing the decline of brain function.
Cyandin 3-glucoside, found in the likes of olives and pomegranate juice, has been connected with reduced body weight, lower blood pressure, improved liver and heart performance, and general improvements to overall metabolic function. The antioxidant properties bring more than their fair share of vitamins and minerals. In many of these fruits and vegetables, you’ll find iron, fiber, potassium, protein, and Vitamin C.
“Research continues to support the value of adding color to your diet in the form of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables,” says Dr. Peter J Jones of Manitoba, President of Nutritional Fundamentals of Health. “Purple promotes health when it comes to your diet, and incorporating them into your daily nutritional intake can reduce inflammation, lower the risk of certain diseases, and promote overall health and wellness.”
Remember, leafy greens are great and deliver significant benefits to the brain and body. Red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes include lycopene and other antioxidant agents that serve your body well. Adding purple into the mix ups the nutrient game and supports an elevated nutrition. A Harvard study supports the Rainbow Theory of good nutrition and the benefits of combining colors for optimum health benefit.
When you’re planning your healthy meals for the week, take time to incorporate purple and realize its bountiful benefits to the body. While balancing nutrients can be overwhelming, eating purple is a great way to ensure key nutrients are part of your daily food consumption. The idea of purple in food may sound exotic, but consider the common sources found at your grocery store, and embrace those purple potatoes, cabbage, berries, and grapes.