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Adding colorful foods to your diet can be one of the easiest ways to assure that you are consuming healthy, vitamin-rich foods. We’re talking about colorful fruits and vegetables and not artificially-colored processed foods. Filling your diet with colorful, fresh food will always be beneficial to your diet and overall well being.
For example, yellow foods, like lemons and bananas, are known to have vitamins and antioxidants that boost your immune system and fight cancer. Red foods, like tomatoes and berries, help regulate hormones and also reduce inflammation. The more colors on your plate, the better your meal is. Whether it’s blue, red, or yellow food, they are going to help you stay healthy.
Purple foods are not only beautiful with their deep, dark pigment, but with that pigment comes some strong health benefits. There are a lot of different purple food options out there, from fruits to vegetables to rice.
Purple foods have high levels of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that cause the deep colors in purple fruits and vegetables. When a fruit or vegetable is this rich in color of blues, reds, or purples, it’s often high in antioxidant properties that help fight diseases and protect the immune system.
Some claim the level of anthocyanins in these darker fruits and vegetables can consider them superfoods. Adding superfoods to your diet can help build your immune system, protect your cells against cancer, increase longevity, and improve heart health.
Purple foods also contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are known for aiding in mood and brain function.
What are the best purple foods?
The next time you are at your local market, keep an eye out for these purple foods. Each one has its own specific benefits while also being delicious.
Blueberries can absolutely be considered a purple food. Yes, the skin pigment is a deep blue, but once you remove the skin and cook blueberries down, they are actually deep purple. Regardless, that dark color is what makes this berry a powerful superfood.
Blueberries are high in Vitamin C which helps build a protective barrier for cells and also is an important element in iron absorption. There are lots of different ways you can enjoy blueberries to reap these health benefits.
Blueberries are usually found in the summer months and are a great berry to freeze for the winter. If you’re picking fresh berries, there is no need to wash them prior to freezing. Simply lay them evenly on a cooking tray and place the tray in the freezer. Store the berries in an air-tight container once they are frozen. Be sure to label and date the berries. They will be good in the freezer for up to six months.
Blueberries are great in smoothies and cereal. This is an especially great way to consume them because they remain fresh and are not cooked down. However, adding them to muffins, pancakes, and breads are another great way to add blueberries to your diet.
Alternatively, they are great on their own. Frozen blueberries are a really fun snack for kids. Kids love blueberries and that’s a great thing because it may improve their brain development. According to a recent study, blueberry consumption in young children may increase their cognitive abilities.
Beets, especially the purple/red-hued ones, are extremely messy. Once you get your hands on a cooked beet you can guarantee that the purple pigment may stick on your hands for a while. And they are delicious, so don’t let the staining factor scare you away.
That dark purple color is from betalains. Betalains have high levels of anti-inflammatory properties and are a strong antioxidant. Beets are also high in magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
Honestly, fresh beets taste the best, but we now know that it might cause a bit of a mess and they take more time to cook and prepare. Canned beets are an easy alternative to take the hassle out of preparing them.
Most often you will find beets that are boiled or roasted. The cooking process softens the beet so that it’s easier to season and easier to eat. There is nothing wrong with preparing beets that way and it’s a very great way to eat them.
Also, pickled beets are another fantastic option. Pickled beets have a unique flavor and are a great snacking food.
There are a few ways that you can eat fresh beets. Eating them whole really isn’t an option. It would be like biting into a raw potato. However, you can cut them up into small pieces so that they can be consumed raw.
First, peel the beet and then shred it into fine sticks (the fancy cooking term is julienne). Shredded beets are very tasty on top of salads and soups.
Don’t let the name confuse you, red cabbage is, in fact, purple. A deep, beautiful purple at that. Cabbage is extremely versatile and can be consumed raw or cooked.
You can cook red cabbage however you would like. Keep in mind though that any other food it’s cooked with, might also turn red or purple. But that does not affect the taste of the dish. If you’d like to steam red cabbage, simply chop it into small pieces or shred the cabbage, and place in a steamer for about five minutes.
Red cabbage is a great substitute not for just green cabbage, but any type of leafy green. It can replace any type of lettuce in a salad or sandwich. It’s great shredded on top of tacos. It’s also a fantastic wrap substitute if you are trying to stay low-carb. You can easily substitute red cabbage for green cabbage in this cabbage and potatoes recipe.
Kids love purple carrots. Parents fight daily to get their kids to eat fresh vegetables. When you’re in a bind, and they won’t eat anything else, try purple carrots. They are fun, beautiful, and delicious.
Because of their darker color, purple carrots are higher in antioxidants than orange carrots. If you want the ideal snack, pair them both together.
Purple carrots taste a lot like regular orange carrots. If anything, they might seem a little sweeter. You can prepare purple carrots the same way you prepare orange or yellow carrots.
They are great served raw with a tasty dipping sauce or you can simply roast them with a little salt and pepper. Keep in mind, if you do cook them, like in a soup, it might turn the whole dish shades of red or purple.
The skin of an eggplant is where the anthocyanin is. So, whenever you cook eggplant, be sure to leave the skin on for the best health benefits. Eggplant is also high in fiber, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains vitamins K, C, and B6.
Eggplant is a very versatile vegetable with many types of uses. It’s a great meat substitute when cooking Italian dishes like eggplant parmesan or lasagna. In fact, thinly sliced eggplant can even be used as a noodle substitute in a gluten-free lasagna. Eggplant is even a great ingredient for a salad.
There is one very important thing to remember when cooking eggplant. Eggplant has a high water content, which means when it’s cooked a lot of water is going to be released. Most of the time, this isn’t a good thing. You don’t want soggy food.
So, when it’s time to cook eggplant, there is a method of removing the water. Prepare a cooking tray by placing a few layers of paper towels on top. Then lay your sliced or chopped eggplant on top. Sprinkle a small amount of salt on top of the eggplant. This is going to release that extra moisture.
Place another few paper towels on top to soak in any extra water. Let the eggplant sit for about 10-20 minutes. After this process, you can now cook delicious eggplant without it getting too soggy.
Purple yams, as well as regular sweet potatoes and yams, have become increasingly popular as the low carb eating trends continue. They are a great alternative to white potatoes. Purple yams are low in fat and high in fiber.
Yams and sweet potatoes, regardless of their color, are high in fiber. Foods that are high in fiber are great for those that are trying to lose weight. They help you feel full quicker and for a longer period of time.
In fact, purple yams can be added to your diet in a number of ways if you are trying to lose weight. Some options include using sliced yams as a toast alternative and spreading fresh avocado on top. You can also mash purple yams as you would regular potatoes.
Looking to try something really different? Try adding purple yams into a smoothie. Keeping some cooked purple yams in the fridge will make it easy to put this beautiful smoothie together.
Purple yams are not just great for adults who want to lose weight. Purple yams can also be one of the first foods that infants eat. Some of the best foods for babies include those that are high in nutrients and can be cooked so they are soft enough for them to mouth and digest.
Steamed and mashed purple yams would be a great option for little ones. It’s best not to salt their food right away. You can also mix purple yams with breastmilk or other cooked vegetables for some variety.
Let’s break away from fruits and vegetables for a minute. Believe it or not, there is rice out there that is actually purple. Though it’s marketed as black rice, when it’s cooked, this rice is actually a deep purple. Forbidden rice is actually really healthy. In fact, it’s healthier than many other varieties of rice because of the high levels of anthocyanins.
Forbidden, or black rice, was called forbidden because it was often saved for the Chinese emperor. Even ages ago, the rice was known for its high level of antioxidants and age-defying properties. Therefore, it was reserved only for the emperor and forbidden to anyone else.
What does forbidden rice taste like?
Forbidden rice is slightly sweeter than standard varieties. It also has a nutty taste. While you can serve forbidden rice as an alternative to white rice in most applications, it’s also great in desserts. Forbidden rice makes a very delicious rice pudding.
Elderberries have also grown in popularity over the years. Especially in times like these, when we are fighting various cold and flu viruses, it’s important to keep our immune system healthy. Elderberry syrup has become an increasingly popular product for people to take during the winter months to keep the sniffles away.
Elderberries, in addition to their immune-boosting properties, are also high in fiber and vitamin C. There are a lot of different ways that you can consume elderberries to reap these benefits.
Elderberry syrup is a very common product. Secondly, elderberry gummies or capsules are also available. They can also be made into jams or wine.
Purple food is beautiful to look at and cook. But most importantly, consuming purple food is going to do wonders for your well being. There are so many different kinds of gorgeous purple foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet. From berries to potatoes, the options are endless.
Keep in mind that other colors belong on your plate as well. Adding purples to a colorful plate will only make it better. It’s best, as they say, to “eat the rainbow” and always look for the freshest way to keep your diet healthy.