All purple foods look gorgeous, but are they good for us? Believe it or not, there are many reasons why purple foods are good for our health and why we should eat them regularly. Once you’ve read this list of 19 purple foods that are fantastic for your health, you will seek out purple foods whenever you can!
It’s summertime, and the markets are filled with colorful beautiful summer fruits and vegetables. I’m always attracted to the purple ones, which made me question that for a minute. Aside from adding a vibrant splash of color to your picnic table, are purple foods good for you and if so, why?
I’ve noticed that purple potatoes are a getting a lot of press as a healthy trending food. When we lived in South America, purple potatoes were available at the markets alongside other potato varieties. We ate them all the time when we were there, but now purple potatoes are popular all over the world.
Compared to other potatoes, purple potatoes are better for blood sugar and have other important health benefits. That’s good news for those of us who love potatoes and wonder how often we should eat them. I’ll talk more about purple potatoes in the veggie section below. But for now, let’s get into purple foods and what’s so great about them.
What Makes Purple Foods Purple?
Purple fruits and vegetables get their gorgeous, intense coloring from what modern science defines as flavonoids, in particular, anthocyanin, the name given to the particular flavonoid that contains purple pigments. This naturally occurring pigment is responsible for the brilliant color of purple foods, but it does much more. Elevating some fruits and vegetables into superfood status, anthocyanins in purple foods provide a wide range of health benefits.
When you think about it, there are quite a few purple vegetables and fruits that we eat all the time.
First, lets look at the many ways purple foods are fantastic for health:
Improve Brain Functioning
Anthocyanins are high in antioxidants that scavenge free radicals, thus being excellent for brain health. They assist in slowing down cognitive decline, reverse memory loss, and improve overall brain functioning.
Good For the Heart
Resveratrol, one of the anthocyanin flavonoids found in some purple fruits, is known to be heart healthy. It improves blood circulation and decreases blood pressure.
Polyphenols found in purple foods are known to be anti-inflammatory. This is important because chronic inflammation is the culprit underlying many serious diseases. Cancer, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes are all impacted by chronic inflammation.
Anthocyanins are good for treating ulcers and are effective in counteracting H.pylori, the bacteria present where stomach ulcers exist.
Good for Eyesight
Excellent for eye health, anthocyanins increase blood flow to the eyes. They are known to protect against macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and may help to cure myopia as well. So, purple foods are good for eyesight.
Although there are too many to name them all, here is a long list of purple foods and their best known healing properties:
1. Acai Berries
Promote heart health, assist in weight loss, one of highest in antioxidants; often eaten frozen and pureed, in an “acai bowl”
2. Aronia Berries
Help to decrease blood pressure and show cancer-inhibiting properties; also good for immune defense
3. Bilberries, Black Currants, Blueberries
Excellent for improving eye health, including night vision and overall vision
4. Blackberries, Boysenberries
Some of highest in antioxidants; anti-inflammatory actions; good for treating stomach ulcers; anti-cancer, inhibiting metastasis of cancer cells
5. Black Cherries
Reduce inflammation, treat arthritis; prevent gout attacks; help decreased eyesight due to aging
Need to be cooked before eating; have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties; reduce fever, cold and flu symptoms; reduce risk of heart disease. Usually made into jams, syrups and refreshing drinks.
7. Fresh Purple Figs
Decrease blood pressure; assist in managing blood sugar levels
8. Concord (and other dark skinned) Grapes
Very high in antioxidants for cardiovascular benefits; anti-aging skin benefits, immune boosting
9. Maqui Berries
Contain more antioxidants than blueberries and blackberries; anti-inflammatory actions help with lung inflammation and in blood vessels; aid in preventing heart disease
Anti-cancer, treat flu and colds, antibacterial; improve blood circulation, thus heart health
11. Dark Purple Plums
Anti-inflammatory, assisting in treating ulcerative diseases; may assist in reducing incidence of blood clots
1. Purple Asparagus
High in antioxidants; effective in cancer prevention. Promotes healthy digestion
2. Purple Basil
Anti-inflammatory, adaptogen, aiding the body in dealing with stress; boosts immune system
3. Purple Belgian Endive
Facilitates bile and improves gallbladder function; helps to lower blood glucose levels, so helps in treating diabetes; good for stomach
4. Purple Cabbage
Lowers risk of heart attacks, protects against cellular damage, anti-cancer actions
5. Purple Carrots
Improve blood flow, protect against cognitive decline; lower incidence of Type 2 diabetes
Anti-inflammatory; protects against cell damage that causes cognitive disorders; supports heart health
7. Purple Peppers
Aid in reducing blood pressure, antibacterial and antifungal, protect against cataracts and aid in cancer prevention
8. Purple Potatoes
Lower risk of heart attack, aid in preventing cancer cell growth; liver cell protection; are super high in antioxidants that aid in fighting chronic diseases; the potassium content in purple potatoes is several times higher than regular potatoes; also aid in lowering blood pressure
If you love purple foods, now you know the many reasons why you should! Power to the Purple!
If you’re interested in trying some tasty recipes containing purple foods, please visit these pages:
- Summer Blackberry Cobbler
- Spicy Sichuan Eggplant
- Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Purple Basil
- Beautiful Plum Upside Down Cake
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