Why fruit and veg with this hue can do more than brighten up your plate
From purple cauliflower and black rice to purple sweet potato and acai berries, these richly coloured foods are currently making a big splash on the health scene, and for good reason.
All brightly coloured fruit and veg contain high levels of nutrients and antioxidants, which can help your body fight disease, lower inflammation, boost heart health and keep the signs of ageing at bay, but those with a rich purple hue often contain anthocyanin – a specific antioxidant which is believed to be particularly beneficial for our wellbeing.
Much research has been done to look at the claims of this compound – and the results have been seriously impressive. One study published in the Annals of Neurology, for example, found that anthocyanins can reverse brain ageing by two and a half years, while another in the Circulation journal suggested that women who ate three or more servings of purple food a week reduced their risk of a heart attack by 32 percent. On top of that, research from the University of Porto revealed that the anthocyanins in blueberries could prevent the growth of breast cancer cells. We’re certainly sold!
Keen to add some purple power to your plate? Blueberries, plums, purple cabbage, purple carrots and beetroot are all easily available in most supermarkets and contain good levels of powerful antioxidants. Or why not try something a little bit different? Purple sweet potatoes could be a great new addition to your dinner plate. Similar in taste to their orange cousins, these anthocyanin-rich spuds have anti-inflammatory properties and can help support healthy digestion. Black rice, on the other hand, is thought to have six times more antioxidants than its white or brown alternatives, and also has high levels of iron and vitamin E (goodbye wrinkles!). Don’t forget purple asparagus either – rich in vitamin B, it also contains vitamins A, C and K, and has been used since the Roman times for its laxative effects and to help aid bowel movements.
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