A basket full of luscious, purple coloured foods that are the hottest food trend of 2017 does more good than just look beautiful on the plate. True to their colour, which has been long associated with power and luxury, purple foods are rich and powerful agents of health. Foods like prunes, eggplant, purple cabbage, black currants, blackberries, beetroot and concord grapes contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which gives these foods a natural purple hue as well as helps prevent various health risks. According to Dr. Sheela Krishnaswamy, a renowned Bengaluru-based Nutritionist, ‘Colours in a fruit or a vegetable reflect an important antioxidant in them. These foods are naturally pigmented and have certain health benefits added to them.”
The Power of Coloured Foods
There are numerous coloured fruits and veggies containing important antioxidants –
1. Purple – Purple foods consist of excellent antioxidants that include anthocyanin and flavonoids that protect body cells from damaging and help reduce risks of cancer, stroke and heart diseases.
2. Yellow/orange – Most yellow or orange coloured foods like carrots, peaches, papaya and sweet potato contain an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body to maintain good eye health.
3. Green– All green foods contain lutein, which belongs to a group of strong antioxidants that help in protecting your skin and eyes from UV rays. Green fruits and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kiwis, and green bell peppers consist of calcium and vitamin A as well.
4. White/brown– White foods like garlic, bananas and potatoes contain a range of photochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) that is known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Benefits of Purple Foods You Didn’t Know
It is a known fact that darker the food, the higher antioxidant content and better nutrient value it contains. Dr. Sheela explains, “Purple foods have this natural purple pigment due to an antioxidant called anthocyanin. More this antioxidant present, the darker colored it is. It helps fight against free radicals and helps maintain a healthy body.”
1. Glowing Skin
The presence of monoterpenes in fruits like cherries and lavenders promote blood circulation. Lavender oil contains phytonutrient perillyl alcohol that has strong anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, which can be used to treat skin ailments like acne, wrinkles, cuts and burns.
2. Heart Friendly
Black currants can lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol while raising ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Resveratrol is one of the main components in purple foods that controls and stabilises blood pressure, is known to relax the heart and help in smooth blood circulation.
3. Help Shed Extra Kilos
Purple carrots and figs are great sources to lose some of those extra kilos as they have the ability to protect against macular degeneration and promote an evident weight loss.
4. Prevents UTI
Anthocyanin in vegetables including cauliflower, purple cabbages and purple carrots is responsible for fighting H.pylori, a bacteria that promotes stomach ulcers and urinary tract infections.
5. Fights Risk of Cancer
Resveratrol present in purple grapes, bilberries, blueberries and cranberries are known to destroy cancer cells. This antioxidant also helps you to get rid of any possible risks of cancers of prostrate, breast, skin, liver, lung and blood.
Now Add Rainbow of Foods to Your Diet
Coloured foods signify antioxidants that will fight and prevent any inducing health risk in the body. Hence, it is an imperative to eat a rainbow of foods and this goes especially for growing kids for healthy growth and development. Consuming different colored foods plays a vital role to ensure that your body keeps getting regular doses of essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Summer welcomes a wide range of colored foods in the market, so do remember to pick some of the purple ones and make them a part of your staple diet. Savor some of the seasonal delights and keep healthy!