I like most powerful purple foods, and I especially love how purple foods look in produce sections at local farmers’ markets. They seem to add depth and more beauty to the already gorgeous vegetables and fruits. It creates a peaceful feeling. I call them powerful purple foods because they provide a myriad of powerful health benefits. Purple fruits and vegetables are really nothing new, even though, other than cabbage and grapes, they are not usually seen in most regular grocery stores. Most of us have likely been eating at least some of them since childhood. Some naturally purple foods have been with us for a while. Others are purple because of a process called selective breeding — for instance, purple cauliflower. Unlike GMO foods, selective breeding is a slower process, and it’s natural.
Reasons to Eat More Powerful Purple Foods
Purple foods are full of anthocyanins – a type of antioxidant with a wide range of health-promoting benefits found naturally in many foods – especially vegetables and fruits. Anthocyanins are the pigments that give red, purple, and blue plants their rich colors.
Antioxidants are compounds that aid your body in fighting against damaging and unstable molecules called free radicals. These molecules are created during digestion, exercise, stress, and exposure to environmental pollution or chemicals. They need to be neutralized fast because of their ability to cause cellular damage, leading to disease and premature aging. Antioxidants from food, such as purple foods, help offset these molecules and help keep your body healthy and well.
Research shows that anthocyanins are beneficial for supporting brain health, can help to lower inflammation, and can also help fight cancer and heart disease. Loretta Lanphier, NP, BCNP, CN
Below are some excellent health benefits of consuming purple foods.
Anthocyanins continually show that they can reduce inflammation. Why is this important? Most practitioners believe that chronic inflammation is a substantial underlying cause of most diseases. These diseases include Asthma, Alzheimer’s, Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Asthma, Arthritis, Joint Disease, Depression, Some Cancers, and Obesity.
Supports Heart Health
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a 2012 study published that concluded that people who consume higher amounts of anthocyanins improve many cardiovascular risk factors, including the ability to lower artery stiffness and lower blood pressure.
Anthocyanins are connected to cancer prevention. In a 2013 study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research it was determined that purple sweet potato may have the ability to protect against colorectal cancer — the third most prevalent cancer. Though very difficult to find, purple corn may exhibit potent cancer-fighting power, as was shown by researcher Monica Giusti, Ph.D., who provided research that showed clear blockage of colon cancer cells.
Supports Brain Health
In 2003 the Archives of Pharmacal Research published research that proved the memory-enhancing effects of eating purple sweet potatoes. More research points to the ability of anthocyanins to help prevent age-related decline in the nervous system. Anthocyanins also have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and localize inside the brain regions involved in learning and memory.
Powerful Purple Foods Compared to Other Vegetables
- Due to their anthocyanin content, purple potatoes have four times the antioxidant content as Russet potatoes.
- Purple carrots, when compared to orange carrots, have two times the amount of alpha and beta-carotene. (The body changes beta-carotene into vitamin A which is another essential antioxidant that improves immunity and is suitable for eye health.)
- Red cabbage consists of 36 different types of antioxidants and has six to eight times more vitamin C than green cabbage.
The Top 41 Powerful Purple Foods
Below are the top powerful purple foods that are not only nutrient-dense but will also add a perfect pop of color to your family dinner or get-together.
- Red Onions
- Purple Grapes
- Red Cabbage
- Red Leaf Lettuce
- Red Belgian Endive aka Radicchio
- Swiss Chard
- Black Currants
- Açai Berries (you can only find these frozen in the U.S.)
- Purple Potatoes
- Purple Cauliflower
- Purple Corn
- Red Kale
- Purple Carrots
- Purple Bell Peppers
- Purple Broccoli
- Purple Artichokes
- Purple Asparagus
- Purple Kohlrabi
- Purple Sweet Potatoes
- Black Currants
- Purple Snow Peas
- Chinese Long Beans
- Purple Okra
- Purple Green Onions
- Ube aka Purple Yam
- Purple Thyme
- Purple Basil
- Edible Lavender
- Edible Purple Violets
How to Find Powerful Purple Foods
Keep a watch out for purple vegetables at natural foods stores and your local farmers’ markets.
If you would like to avoid GMOs, it’s essential to know that some purple tomatoes, but not all, are genetically modified.
To avoid purple GMO tomatoes, choose organic or organic seeds if you want to grow them.
And if you have a hard time finding purple foods, don’t panic. Eating more veggies of any color is always a win-win for your health and well-being.