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Taste the Rainbow: Purple Fruits and Veggies

A basked filled with luscious blue or dark red fruit and vegetables does much more than look good in still life paintings or on your kitchen counter. It contains a wealth of incredible health benefits.

The top benefactor in purple foods is their antioxidant content. The powerful health benefits of antioxidants are only too well known: they neutralize the agents of aging and disease, and keep you looking younger longer. Now consider this: According to the USDA, potatoes with the darkest colors have more than four times the antioxidant potential than other potatoes.

Remember: The darker the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidants it has.

Prunes, purple cabbage, eggplant, blackberries, black currants, purple onions, concord grapes: all of these have a natural purple pigment that contains flavonoids, including reservatrol, which keeps blood pressure in control and boosts immunity from certain cancers. The skin of a black grape, for example, has this pigment, called anthocyanin. In cranberries, the purple pigment is seen to benefit those suffering from infections of the urinary tract.

There is evidence that purple foods improve heart health, vision, and brain power. Recent studies found that adults who eat purple and blue fruits and vegetables have reduced risk for both high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind); they are also less likely to be overweight.

So, with so many wonderful reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables of the purple family, get more of them into your daily diet. And don’t stop at eggplant and berries. Exciting purple varieties of corn, asparagus, figs, potatoes and such are yours for the tasting and enjoying!

Purple Cabbage

Purple cabbage can be shredded, tossed with your favorite vinaigrette, and enjoyed as a side salad. Or you can opt for a more traditional preparation and make a batch of classic sauerkraut. Purple cabbage also adds a layer of flavor and crunch to pulled pork sandwiches and fish tacos. Try it braised or even in a crunchy slaw.

Blueberries

While I prefer to carry around a carton of blueberries in my purse for easy snacking, one can’t help but get excited about all of the recipes that involve these dark purple-colored berries. Blueberry sandwich is  a unique twist on a brunch classic. This blueberry margarita is fun and flirty. A perfect summer blueberry lemonade sounds delicious all year long. But for a wild way to highlight this sweet berry, blueberry cream cheese pie is the way to go.

Japanese Eggplant

Japanese eggplant is narrower in size and more delicate in flavor than a regular eggplant, but you can use either for any of these recipes. Eggplant can be a polarizing ingredient, but not when it’s roasted and tossed into a salad. A slice of roasted eggplant adds a meaty, satisfying component to this vegetarian sandwich. Have you ever tried eggplant and eggs? If these all seem too fussy, you can’t go wrong with baba ghanoush, a Mediterranean dip made from eggplant.

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This article was written on 15 Feb 2017.