Purple is the color of hipster hair, royalty and majestic mountains. But it’s also a color that more people need to put on their dinner plate.
Purple- and blue-hued fruits and vegetables contain a large quantity of antioxidants and key phytonutrients, which support a number of defense and protective mechanisms in our bodies and may make us more resilient to the kinds of stresses we encounter in everyday life.
The phytonutrients in blue and purple foods—like quercetin, resveratrol and ellagic acid—give the foods their rich color, but also help support your brain and heart health.
Despite their regal color, purple produce has a popularity problem. According to the Global Phytonutrient Report, of the five main colors of fruits and vegetables, blue and purple is the least consumed by people across the world.
That means a large number of people are missing out on those phytonutrient benefits. If you fall into that category, it’s time to put in some extra effort looking for blue and purple produce next time you go to the store or farmers market. Here are some things to hunt for.
Purple cabbage and onions
Not only do these add some zing to your meals, they are a nutritional bargain. Studies show purple cabbage and onions (sometimes called red onions) have the highest level of antioxidants per dollar spent.
Purple cabbage actually is better nutrient-wise than its green cousin with six to eight times more vitamin C. And don’t be afraid to cook it up: Cooking cabbage makes the anthocyanins, one of the phytonutrients, more active.
Compared to orange carrots, purple carrots have twice the amount of alpha and beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A—an important antioxidant that supports your immunity and vision health.
Little known fact: Orange wasn’t always the predominant color for carrots. Thousands of years ago, they were typically purple or yellow. Orange didn’t show up until the 1500s. So when you choose purple, you’re being retro.
Consumers are liking this cauliflower more and more, giving kale a run for its money in the popularity and nutrient department since it has 15% more antioxidants, ounce for ounce.
It’s full of cancer-fighting properties, vitamins C and B, fiber and potassium. You can cut it up for snacks or salads, or quickly steam, stir-fry or microwave it. Eating it raw, however, gives you the most nutrients.
Plums support your brain health and immune system with vitamins A and C and are full of calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. The more color, the more anthocyanins, and riper ones have more nutrients.
They’re great to eat out of hand or throw in a salad. They also provide an excuse to try the traditional plum pudding you hear about during the holidays. (Prunes, count, too!)
Some studies show that blueberries are linked to improved memory function and healthy aging along with supporting your brain health and boosting your mood.
Packed with so much nutrition they’ve been given the super food label, they are a perfect addition to smoothies, oatmeal, cereal or fresh by the handful.
This glossy food is low in calories, has lots of antioxidants and supports your brain health. The skin is where the anthocyanins are, so keep that in mind when preparing.
Eggplants are ripe when they are soft to the touch and white rather than green on the inside. Bake it in strips, turn it into a dip, toss it in pasta or stir fry it.
This veggie does everything but leap tall buildings. It’s full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and K, calcium, potassium and fiber. Its antioxidants support your eyes, immune system and heart.
Easily added to smoothies, soups, stir fry and pasta, or you can try kale chips.
Purple sweet potatoes
Purple sweet potatoes have two to three times the antioxidants of their white counterparts. Inside the tasty tots are potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber.
Here’s a reason to eat more of them: The people in the world who live the longest are from Okinawa, an island off the coast of Japan. They eat a plant-based diet, with 60% of their total calories coming from purple potatoes.
Even with all these ideas, it still may be difficult to get the variety of phytonutrients you’re looking for. Effective dietary supplements can help fill the nutrient gaps.
Nutrilite™ Double X™ Vitamin/ Mineral/Phytonutrient Supplement features 12 essential vitamins, 10 essential minerals and 22 plant concentrates, including a special berry blend, giving a boost to the blue and purple category.
The proprietary blend includes anthocyanins from grape, blueberry, elderberry and black currant extracts. Learn more about that and other Nutrilite products at the websites for Amway US or Amway Canada.