The power of purple foods

Purple fruits and vegetables can do more than spruce up the appearance of a dish. They get their colour from nutrients that offer a variety of health benefits for the whole body.

Naturally purple foods commonly contain phytonutrients called anthocyanins. This type of nutrient isn’t essential for your body to function but does help protect your cells and play a preventative role against some disease.

Red cabbage
One of the better-known purple vegetables, red cabbage, is perfect in a slaw, a salad or fermented. When you ferment cabbage into sauerkraut you get the added benefits of probiotics that can help with digestion, nutrient absorption, anxiety and gut health.

Berries
The anthocyanin content in a number of different berries has been linked to the treatment of circulatory disorders, diabetes and has antiviral properties. It colours some red and blue berries, not just purple ones. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and black currants help with mood, and can even boost brain power.

Purple spuds
If you haven’t tried potatoes with both purple coloured skin and flesh, now is the time. They’re packed with magnesium, vitamin C, potassium and fibre, as well as anthocyanins. They contain around two to three times more antioxidants than normal potatoes.

Cherries
From helping with osteoarthritis and gout to lowering blood pressure and keeping blood vessels soft, red cherries offer an array of health benefits. According to WebMD, they may also help to prevent diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.

Beetroot
Good for blood sugar, heart and brain health, these vegies actually get their colour from antioxidants called betalains. This type of antioxidant breaks down quickly with heat, so it may be better to steam rather than roast them to keep the antioxidants intact.

Plums
The skin of plums is rich with antioxidants, containing as much as 20 times more than that found in the flesh of the fruit. The riper the fruit, and the darker the colour of the skin, the more anthocyanins it’s likely to contain.

Purple carrots
They contain all the carotenoids and beta carotene you’d find in standard orange carrots, which boost your immune system, but contain a whole lot of anthocyanins that give them their rich purple colour.

Red grapes
The skin of red grapes is packed with resveratrol, a type of nutrient known for protecting your cells and preventing diseases.

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Written by Liv Gardiner

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