The power of purple produce

Cheryl Mussatto | MS, RD, LD for Dr. David Samadi

We have all been told to “eat the rainbow.” It’s true, the more colorful food we choose to fill our plate, the more important antioxidants along with other nutrients we will benefit from. Let’s focus on just one of the colors of the rainbow, purple. If you like the color purple, you’ll love the fact that purple foods are a powerhouse of healthy nutrition. Packed with powerful phytochemicals, the beauty of purple produce goes far beyond their alluring royal purple hue. Within each one’s attractive outer package lays a nutrient-packed health protective profile. These purple fruits and veggies will provide a host of nutrients giving us a much needed health-promoting punch.

When we pile purple produce onto our plate, this is what we can expect health-wise:

• Contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory action.

• People who consume more purple produce have higher intakes of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

• Rich source of anthocyanins, a plant compound that appears to help reduce the risk of heart disease, cognitive decline, and cancer.

• Aids in boosting the immune system, along with eye, brain, and digestive health.

• People consuming more purple produce have significantly lower waist circumferences and body mass indexes (BMIs) than those who do not consume them.

• Two daily servings of purple produce can lower blood pressure by about four percent.

Here is a list of purple produce to put in your grocery cart to begin promoting your health today:

Blackberries – Rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, copper, manganese. Add fresh to cereals, salads, or to baked goods such as breads and muffins.

Blueberries – Rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, manganese. Add fresh to cereals and yogurt, puree into smoothies, or use in baked goods such as muffins and pancakes.

Concord grapes – Rich in vitamins C and K, copper. Eat as a snack or add to salads or make into juice or jelly.

Eggplant – Rich in fiber. Excellent grilled as a side dish or blended in a Mediterranean inspired dip.

Passion fruit – Rich in fiber, vitamins A, B6, and C; niacin, riboflavin, copper, iron, and magnesium. Eat as a snack or puree in smoothies.

Plums – Rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Serve fresh as a snack or add to savory stews or side-dishes.

Purple artichokes – Rich in fiber, vitamins C, and K, folate, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Roast or grill with olive oil, garlic and herbs. Add to pizza, salads, and pasta dishes.

Purple cabbage – Rich in vitamins A, C, and K and manganese. Add shredded to coleslaws, or sauté in stir-fries or use as a side dish.

Purple cauliflower – Rich in fiber, vitamins B6, C, and K, folate. Roast, steam, or sauté as a side dish.

Purple potatoes – Rich in fiber, vitamins B6 and C, niacin, folate, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Add to soups, stews, or casseroles. Bake or roast as a side dish.

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