Why are they so good for us?
Purple and blue fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds that occur naturally in plants, and many have been shown to deliver health benefits beyond those provided by essential nutrients. The most important phytochemicals in blue and purple produce are the pigments that give them their color, anthocyanins, and phenolics. Both of these compounds act as powerful antioxidants, offering health-protective effects like boosting the immune system and reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Most purple and blue fruits and vegetables are also good sources of vitamin C, yet another antioxidant.
What are some examples?
Try this trick to incorporate more color into your diet: every time you go to the grocery store, pick up at least one different fruit or vegetable to represent each color of the rainbow. Here are some examples of blue and purple produce to get you started: blackberries, blueberries, figs, purple grapes, plums, prunes, eggplant, purple cabbage, purple asparagus, purple potatoes, and purple peppers.
How can we add more purple to our plates?
- Sprinkle blueberries or blackberries on morning cereal or oatmeal.
- Make coleslaw with shredded purple cabbage and purple carrots.
- Roast purple potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Slice purple grapes and add to chicken salad or a tossed green salad.
- Add purple carrots and purple kale to a stir-fry.
- Toss a plum in your bag for an afternoon snack.
- Make a chunky salsa with purple corn and purple onions.
- Add a side of steamed purple asparagus or purple cauliflower at dinner.
- Eat a bowl of mixed berries for dessert.
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