Typically following closely in the footsteps of our American friends, it’s estimated that up to 90% of Australians do not consume adequate produce from the Purple/Blue colour family, meaning that we’re likely missing out on an array of health benefits!
What’s So Great About It?
Foods commonly derived from the purple/blue family include blackberries, blueberries, black grapes, beetroot, blackcurrants, purple plums, figs, prunes, raisins, red cabbage and aubergine (eggplant) and they are distinctively coloured so, because of a plant pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin has powerful antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Anthocyanins have been found to act against the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers and gum disease and studies have also suggested that they can lower the risk of colon cancer and painful urinary tract infections (UTI’s) such as cystitis by stopping bacteria like E.coli from sticking to the urinary tract wall.
Good intakes of anthocyanins have also been linked to improving balance, co-ordination and short-term memory in old age, as well as support better vision and they potentially help to ward off Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.
But the health benefits of purple/blue foods don’t just stop there…. blue and purple foods also contain ellagic acid, a phytochemical that may prevent cancer as well as lowering cholesterol levels.
How Can I Get More?
So how can you easily get the benefits of purple/blue foods into your life? Here are a few simple ideas:
- Choose purple grapes to snack on instead of the green variety.
- Add aubergine into the meat mixture of your lasagne or add layers of it instead of using pasta sheets.
- Make coleslaws from purple cabbage & throw in a few raisins for good measure.
- Add a handful of acai berries, blueberries or blackberries to your breakfast cereal or smoothies.
- Make homemade jelly or jams from berries.
- Add beetroot to your roast vegetable repertoire or add it to salads & sandwiches. (There’s nothing greater than beetroot on a good old fashion homemade hamburger)!!
- Make sauerkraut from red cabbage so you always have it on hand.
- Stews plums and add a delicious dollop onto Greek yoghurt for a healthy & delicious dessert.
Remember…. a good diet consists of a variety! Add a rainbow of colours to your plate daily!!