Purple fruits and vegetables

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35 Purple Fruits and Vegetables You Should Be Eating

Purple foods, particularly purple fruits and vegetables, are sought after by health-conscious consumers and those in the know, as the vibrant colour indicates a naturally high presence of health-enhancing anti­oxidants.

From purple potatoes and carrots, to trusty red cabbage and blueberries, this list of purple fruits and vegetables boasts plenty of nutritional credentials behind the vibrant hues, they are not only a great way of adding colour to a dish, they should help you feel good about eating them too.

Purple Fruits and Vegetables

Image: Coconut and Berries

Roasted, juiced, spiralised, souped or blended into vegan smoothies, beetroot is a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s even low in fat.

Beetroot is also great for haute cuisine. Check out this stunning seafood recipe from chef Antimo Merone, at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana restaurant, for a lobster salad with beetroot puree.

2. Blueberries

Michael Bentley/Flickr

Blueberries have long been recognised as a superfood of the fruit world, catapulting them into the spotlight for those health conscious consumers. High in antioxidants this purple fruit is delicous eaten in its natural state, or baked into desserts.

Find our recipes for mouth-watering blueberry desserts here.

3. Eggplants

Liz West/Flickr

Eggplants are a versatile purple vegetable that can be eaten any number of ways – full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, they are also said to have the potential to lower cholesterol and help manage weight. Plenty of reasons to put eggplant on the plate.

Try our 5 easy eggplant dishes – perfect for a weekday dinner.

4. Figs

Figs are rich in natural health benefiting phyto-nutrients, anti-oxidants and vitamins. Dried figs are a great concentrated source of minerals and vitamins.

Find out more in the A-Z of figs – they were one of Cleopatra’s favourite fruits.

5. Purple Potato

Sukaina Rajabali

Purple potatoes are reported to contain four times as many antioxidants as Russet potatoes thanks to anthocyanin, the pigment that creates the purple colour in the potatoes’ skin and flesh.

Turn those purple potatoes into tasty chips with this recipe for beet and potato chips with rock salt and rosemary.

6. Red Cabbage

Red cabbage is another awesome purple vegetable packed with antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fibre.

Discover 6 ways of cooking with red cabbage today.

7. Purple Cauliflower

MASHA/Flickr

Tired of white cauliflower? Try purple cauliflower rich in vitamin C, with a half cup of florets reportedly providing nearly half of the daily requirement for vitamin C.

Purple cauliflower also packs a nutritional punch when it comes to fibre, vitamin A, folate, calcium and potassium and selenium. All good news when it comes to staying healthy.

8. Purple Asparagus

PROKurman Communications/Flickr

This asparagus is so sweet it can be eaten raw, meaning you get to enjoy all those health enhancing antioxidants to their full potential.

9. Blackberries

Steve Lodefink/Flickr

The rich colour of blackberries is a giveaway that they have some of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. Rich in bioflavonoids and Vitamin C, they are low on sodium and calories. Enjoy them naturally to benefit from their nutritional goodness.

10. Purple Carrots

Deidre Woollard/Flickr

Believe it or not, a few hundred years ago, all cultivated carrots were purple; the orange carrot wasn’t cultivated until the late 16th century. It’s unsurprising to see purple carrots sprouting up again given their stunning colour coupled with their anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.

11. Acai Berries

The açaí berry, a naturally blueish-purple fruit, is packed with antioxidants as well as being rich in fibre, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins A, B, C and E, mineral salts (calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium).. and the list keeps going.

Find out more fascinating facts about acai, from A-Z here.

12. Purple Corn

Eye-catching purple corn contains a variety of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) including massive amounts of phenolics and anthocyanins, suggesting they are high in anti-oxidants … essentially helping us to stay healthy.

Try this recipe for purple corn tortillas.

13. Ube

This purple yam is a staple of Filippino cuisine where it is used in both savoury and sweet dishes. Ube is rich in fiber and contains virtually no fat – it’s a great purple vegetable to add to your daily rotation.

14. Lavender

This honorary member of the purple fruit or vegetable family, lavender is used in a variety of recipes and is prized for its health benefits. This fragrant herb aids in relaxation and stress relief.

Try these 5 ways of cooking with lavender.

15. Red Grapes

image via Sarah Ackerman/Flickr

Did you know grapes are botanically classified as berries? Red grapes, sometimes called purple grapes, are rich in heart-healthy resveratrol, a compound known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Try this delicous potato salad with goat cheese, red onions and grapes.

16. Passion Fruit

This purple-skinned fruit reveals a bright yellow interior with sweet and sour seeds packed with flavor and antioxidants.

Passion fruit is rich in phytonutrients, as well as vitamins A and C. Eat it fresh to enjoy the maximum benefits. Check out: Passion Fruit From A to Z: 26 Things to Know

17. Plums

When it comes to purple foods plums should always be on your list. This humble fruit comes in different varieties but the most popular one in the United States is the purple plum (also called black plum) with yellow flesh.

Plums are rich in fiber and help ease digestion, as well as being a wonderful source of vitamin A.

Find fresh plum recipes here.

Purple Foods: More Purple Fruits and Vegetables


Other purple fruits and vegetables to keep on your radar include:

  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Purple Peppers
  • Elderberries
  • Black Currants
  • Red Onions
  • Cherries
  • Purple Artichokes
  • Purple Kale
  • Purple Belgian Endive
  • Radicchio
  • Purple Broccoli
  • Purple Basil
  • Pluots
  • Edible violets
  • Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Purple Thyme
  • Purple Kohlrabi Micro Greens

At BBC Good Food we believe eating a balanced and varied diet, including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, is best for health. But what’s so special about purple foods in particular?
Many purple foods contain anthocyanins

All brightly coloured fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants – compounds which play a key role in protecting our bodies – but many naturally purple-coloured foods contain a certain antioxidant called anthocyanin. These are beneficial plant pigments which give fruit and veg their deep red, purple or blue hues.

While studies are ongoing, it’s too early to say conclusively whether purple foods containing anthocyanins deserve to be lauded as ‘superfoods’ as they have been in some media reports. Previous research has linked anthocyanins to a wide variety of health claims, however, including increased longevity, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention and dementia.

Which foods contain anthocyanins?

Anthocyanins are found in high concentrations in blackcurrants, blackberries and blueberries, as well as in aubergine (in the skin), red cabbage, cranberries and cherries.

Blueberries


Blueberries are a useful source of vitamin C, which helps protect cells and aids the absorption of iron, and contain soluble fibre, which is beneficial to the digestive system. Read more about the health benefits of blueberries.

A study in the European Journal of Nutrition found that a supplement containing dried blueberry powder improved brain power in children aged 7 to 10.
Research from Tufts University suggests that consuming a blueberry supplement may be effective in improving or delaying short-term memory loss in rats.
However, the NHS points out that the existing studies into how blueberries might prevent cancer or improve memory have so far relied on small sample groups or animals, and it is not yet clear whether these findings will translate to larger groups of the human population. Read more from the NHS about the nutritional benefits of blueberries.

Pomegranate


Somewhere between red and purple, the jewel-like colour of pomegranate is a consequence of its anthocyanin content. Pomegranate is a good source of fibre, and also provides vitamins A, C and E, iron, and other antioxidants such as tannins.

One study found that pomegranate helped to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis in mice through decreased inflammation and oxidative stress.

Another study found that consuming 50ml of pomegranate juice per day reduced damage to arteries and cut cholesterol build-up in people with narrowed arteries.

A further study found that a daily glass of pomegranate juice improved blood flow to the heart, resulting in a lower risk of heart attack. However, the NHS points out that as it was a very limited trial these positive results could have been down to chance.
Purple sweet potato


Purple sweet potatoes have recently been in the media spotlight. They are commonly eaten on the Japanese island of Okinawa, which is home to an exceptionally healthy elderly population – with a large number over the age of 100, and rates of dementia reported to be up to 50% lower than in the West. Some scientists think that the large quantities of purple sweet potato in their diet plays a key role in keeping their bodies and brains healthy well into old age. However, to date, there are not many studies into the health benefits of the purple sweet potato, and it’s impossible to say that the Okinawan’s longevity is down to this one food alone.

A note on beetroot


Beetroot’s deep purple colour comes from plant chemicals called betalains. Like anthocyanins, betalains have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You can also find betalains in the stems of chard and rhubarb but it’s the flesh and skin of beetroots which are especially rich in them.

Beetroot is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, manganese and potassium. They’re also nitrate-rich, which contributes to many of beetroot’s perceived health benefits. For example, a study from 2013 found that consuming beetroot juice was linked with lower blood pressure.
Beetroot juice has also been found to moderately improve athletic performance.
Another study has suggested that a diet that includes beetroot juice may increase blood flow to the brain, which some have interpreted to mean it may help prevent or improve dementia. However, as the NHS points out, these findings are limited by the fact that it was based on a very small sample size of 16 elderly people over an extremely short interval. This means that much more evidence is needed before we can conclusively say that beetroot juice aids cognitive function.

So should we be eating more purple foods?

There’s no doubt that naturally purple-coloured fruit and vegetables are an excellent addition to a varied diet, but it’s also important to remember that balance is key along with including a rainbow of differently coloured fruits and vegetables for optimum health benefits.

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This article was last reviewed on 23 September 2019 by Kerry Torrens.

Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a Registered Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

Have you heard of anthocyanins? Which purple foods do you enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments below…

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It’s a scientifically-proven fact that the darker the food, the higher the antioxidant level. Antioxidants are to the body, the way rust-proof works on a car – they have the ability to mop up free radicals and keep you looking younger, longer. Thus, dark foods with a purple pigment, such as purple onions, concord grapes, purple cabbage, black mission figs, prunes and blackberries, are known for having amazing healing powers.

The purple pigment in all of these fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, including resveratrol, which can help decrease blood pressure. Resveratrol helps relax the arterial walls, decreases the pressure in the arteries and allows better circulation. Produce with purple hues contain a variety of polyphenols that can reduce the inflammatory response in the body. In my book Meals That Heal Inflammation, I outline how inflammation is at the root of all major diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and immune dysfunction.

Let’s take a deeper look into these dark nutritional superheroes. Here are five reasons to eat more purple foods:

1. Purple foods kill cancer
The resveratrol found in purple grapes, cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, and, of course, red wine and grape juice can inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer in animal studies. Other promising studies also show that resveratrol can induce cancer cell death in cases of prostate, breast, skin, liver, lung and blood cancers. The curcumin in turmeric seems to boost its anti-cancer activity so have a glass of pinot noir (the type of wine highest in resveratrol) next time you have curry.

2. Purple foods are ulcer-fighters
A 2011 study found that anthocyanins from blackberries reduced stomach ulcer formation in rats. Researchers believe this is because the antioxidants in blackberries prevent oxidation and boost the activity of other important antioxidants, such as glutathione, that are naturally present in the body.

3. Purple foods are good for your liver
Black rice, which has more anthocyanins per gram than blueberries, is a delicious antioxidant grain that has been found to reduce damage to the liver incurred by excessive alcohol intake.

4. Purple foods are good for the heart
Black currants can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by up to 13 percent while raising “good” HDL cholesterol. Black currants and bilberries have more anthocyanins than blueberries. Wild raw berries have higher antioxidant content than fresh raw berries or frozen varieties.

5. Purple foods prevent urinary tract infections
Vegetables such as purple cauliflower, purple carrots and purple cabbage contain the same plant pigment, anthocyanin, that is responsible for the UTI-fighting power of cranberries. Lab studies show that anthocyanin compounds fight H. pylori, the bacteria that promotes stomach ulcers and urinary tract infections.

Tangy purple coleslaw
Look for unpasteurized sauerkraut in your local health food store as the natural process of fermentation creates beneficial probiotic bacteria. The tasty zip in this recipe is from the tangy sour flavour of the sauerkraut. I love Ambrosia apples for this recipe because this variety is slow to brown when cut and ideal for salads. Ambrosia is a sweet apple with a distinct honeyed aroma that pairs nicely with the purple cabbage. For maximum nutrition, top the coleslaw with the nutty crunch of hemp hearts. They offer healing benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.

Ingredients:
4 cups purple cabbage, finely sliced
1 cup unpasteurized Sauerkraut
1/2 cup red onion, finely sliced
2 organic Ambrosia apples, finely sliced
2 tbsp. hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds)
Dressing:
2 tbsp. Veganaise (healthy mayo substitution)
2 tbsp. sauerkraut liquid
1 tsp. dill weed, dried
Honey, to taste
2 tsp. unrefined sea salt

Directions:
1. Mix salad ingredients together.
2. Mix dressing ingredients together.
3. Combine until salad is evenly coated.
Makes 6 servings.

Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet (OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network), a reality cooking show that highlights the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation (Random House) is now available and will help people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great and assist the body in the healing process.

Purple vegetables may be pretty, but they also have powerful health benefits. See why and get mouthwatering recipes for 10 purple vegetables.

The color purple often symbolizes royalty and magic. And lately, purple vegetables have been popping up in more places.

You might have seen shades of purple in your grocery store or local farmers market — from vibrant purple cauliflower to the darker skins of purple potatoes.

But are these colorful veggies really worth seeking out and including in your regular meals? Should you become passionate about naturally hued purple foods?

Let’s Take A Look At Why Some Vegetables Are Purple

Purple foods are nothing new. In fact, you’ve likely been eating some purple vegetables since childhood.

And purple veggies have been around for a long time. Some vegetables are naturally purple, like eggplant.

And some are purple because farmers bred them to be colorful, like purple cauliflower. For thousands of years, humans have been tweaking the genetics of foods — naturally!

The process is called selective breeding. Unlike genetically modifying foods, it’s a slower process. Farmers select and grow crops with desired traits over time.

Should You Eat More Purple Vegetables?

The deep purple color of fruits and veggies is usually a sign these foods have a good dose of antioxidants.

A particular type of antioxidant called anthocyanins gives plants (including flowers) their vivid violet colors. (They also give red foods, like tomatoes, and blue foods, like blueberries, their colors.)

Anthocyanins protect purple vegetables from sunlight damage, cold temperatures, and other stressors. And they attract pollinators, like bees and butterflies.

They also can help protect and heal your cells from damage and protect you from many lifestyle diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

For centuries, people have used anthocyanins in herbal medicines (from dried leaves, berries, roots, and seeds).

And mixtures and extracts with anthocyanins have been used for a wide range of health conditions. Including everything from hypertension and liver disorders to kidney stones and urinary tract infections — and the common cold.

4 More Reasons to Eat More Purple Foods

Anthocyanins have a wide range of health-promoting benefits.

Science is showing that they are:

  • Anti-Inflammatory — Anthocyanins have consistently shown to reduce inflammation. Why is this important? Because chronic inflammation is one of the underlying causes of many diseases of our times. Including Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, heart disease, allergies, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and joint disease, depression, some types of cancer, and obesity.
  • Heart Healthy — Consuming a high amount of anthocyanins has been shown by a 2012 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to improve many cardiovascular risk factors, including ability to lower artery stiffness and lower blood pressure.
  • Anti-Cancer — Anthocyanins are associated with cancer prevention. For example, a 2013 study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research suggests that purple sweet potato may protect against colorectal cancer — the third most common cancer. And purple corn, though difficult to find, may have particularly potent cancer-fighting power. In research by Monica Giusti, PhD, purple corn showed significant blockage of colon cancer cells.
  • Good for Your Brain — A 2003 study published in the Archives of Pharmacal Research showed the memory-enhancing effects of eating purple sweet potatoes. Other research points to the ability of anthocyanins to help prevent age-related decline in the nervous system. And anthocyanins are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and localize inside brain regions involved in learning and memory.

Researchers haven’t focused on anthocyanins as much as other flavonoids, so even more benefits could be found.

Are Purple Vegetables Healthier?

Some purple vegetables have more health benefits compared to the same veggies in other colors — at least for some nutrients.

For example:

  • Purple potatoes have four times as many antioxidants as Russet potatoes, due to the anthocyanins.
  • Compared to orange carrots, purple carrots have two times the amount of alpha and beta-carotene. (The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A — another important antioxidant that improves immunity and is good for eye health.)
  • Red cabbage contains 36 different types of antioxidants. And it’s been shown to have six to eight times more vitamin C than green cabbage.

Of course, you shouldn’t switch to only eating purple foods.

Eating a variety of colorful foods every day is best. But do include purple ones! And here’s how…

10 Purple Vegetables and How to Eat Them

Are you ready to play with more purple on your plate?

Even picky eaters might be tempted to try some of these colorful veggies.

1. Purple Cabbage — Also Known As Red Cabbage

You should be able to find purple cabbage fairly easily. And it’s one of the best healthy food bargains because it has the highest level of antioxidants per dollar.

Purple cabbage is also a cruciferous vegetable, so it gives you all the excellent health benefits of the brassica family — including fighting cancer, relief from depression, and more.

The leaves are thicker than green cabbage, but the taste is similar. You can easily substitute purple cabbage for green cabbage in recipes. You can even use purple cabbage to make visually appealing cabbage rolls with your favorite filling.

Purple cabbage goes well in salads. Try this Loaded Veggie Chopped Salad from Veggie Inspired.

This beautiful chopped salad is a perfect way to eat the rainbow. Almost every color of the spectrum is represented, including a heap of beautiful purple cabbage.

If you want to avoid sweeteners, you can leave the maple syrup out of the dressing. Or for an alternative, you can replace it with a soaked date and puree the dressing rather than whisk it together.

Or try this Red Cabbage Salad from Responsible Eating and Living. The homemade prune butter is easy to prepare and makes this salad extra special and delicious.

2. Purple Onion — You’ll Find Them Labeled As Red Onion

Next to purple cabbage, this is probably the most affordable and easiest-to-find purple vegetable out there.

A 2017 study published in Food Research International found that the combination of quercetin and anthocyanin makes purple (also known as red) onions powerful cancer-fighters.

You can use these onions in most recipes that call for sweet onion. The red onion may add color to your foods. For example, it will turn pickle brine hot pink.

Try this recipe for Easiest Quick Pickled Onions from What Great Grandma Ate.

Make some pickled onions and keep them in your fridge — they might even become one of the healthy staple foods you keep on hand all the time.

They add depth and flavor to many savory dishes. Add them to sandwiches in place of raw onions. Spoon them over chili. Or use them in your next Buddha bowl.

You can also try this Fresh Pineapple Salsa from Veggies Save the Day.

Fruit salsas are a versatile condiment. And they’re a great way to bring an abundance of flavor to any dish. You can scoop this pineapple salsa onto tacos, burgers, and salads.

3. Purple Carrots — Now Available in More Stores and Markets

You might be surprised to learn that carrots weren’t always orange.

They were domesticated in the Afghanistan region about a thousand years ago, at which time they were purple and yellow. Orange carrots didn’t arrive until the 1500s.

Purple carrots became available again because scientists discovered that purple carrots have special genes that orange carrots don’t. These genes make them more resistant to diseases and pests.

Purple carrots, ranging from dark violet to reddish purple, can have an intensely sweet and sometimes peppery flavor.

They are a beautiful addition to salads and veggie plates — they have bright orange, yellow, or white cores when you cut them. But you can also cook them and use them in a variety of recipes without having a big impact on the flavor.

Try this recipe for Za’atar Spiced Rainbow Carrots from Plants-Rule.

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend of zingy sumac, protein-packed sesame seeds, and earthy thyme. You can find za’atar spice mix at most grocery stores in the spice section, make your own blend, or order it online.

4. Purple Cauliflower — Bright and Beautiful

This purple vegetable is showing up on more and more store shelves, as consumer demand for purple foods has increased. (You might also see lime green and orange-colored cauliflower.)

Purple cauliflower has 15% more antioxidants than the world famous antioxidant-superstar, kale.

Purple cauliflower retains its color after cooking, and it’s said to have a milder flavor than white cauliflower, with a slightly sweeter, nuttier taste.

Cut it up and add it to salads for a delicious crunch.

Try this recipe for Ginger Raw Slaw with Beet and Cauliflower from Trinity’s Kitchen.

This salad has an irresistible red wine color. You can even turn this slaw into a main dish by serving it over quinoa or your favorite whole grain.

If you want to avoid sweeteners, you can leave out the raisins and the coconut nectar in the dressing. And be sure to choose organic or non-GMO versions of tamari or shoyu.

5. Purple Kale — More Intense Flavor Than Green or Black Kale

You may have seen purple kale, with its green leaves and purple stems. This veggie is grown for eating but also for ornamental purposes (many people find it stunningly beautiful).

Young, tender purple kale can be used in salads. And the more mature leaves are best when cooked (steaming works well).

Try this gorgeous Purple Kale and Pansy Salad from The View from Great Island.

When making this kale salad, be sure to remove the entire stem and spine from the leaves because they can be a little tough to chew. You can also massage the kale with the dressing with your hands to make it easier to chew.

If you want, you can use another sweetener in place of the honey, or leave it out. And to make it oil-free, leave out the oil.

6. Purple Potatoes — Purple Majesty, Purple Viking, and Purple Peruvian

Are purple potatoes healthy?

Substituting purple potatoes for white or yellow potatoes can also give you some anti-inflammatory benefits.

See more about the purple potato effect in this video from Michael Greger, MD:

Purple potatoes can also be heart healthy. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that they can help lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Purple potatoes are usually smaller than regular potatoes. And you should keep the skin on the get the most benefits.

Try this Purple Potato Salad from Kimberly Snyder.

This bright purple potato salad has a creamy avocado dressing. Plus, even more purple power from the red (purple) onions.

And don’t worry about leaving this on the counter or table for a few hours. The acid from the mustard and the lemon juice will keep the dressing green as it sits.

7. Purple Sweet Potatoes — A Spectacularly Healthy Choice

Vibrant on the inside, purple potatoes are a dietary staple food in Okinawa— an island off the coast of Japan that is a blue zone (one of the regions where people live the longest and healthiest lives).

Okinawans’ long lives are credited primarily to their whole-foods, plant-based diet. But purple sweet potatoes are part of what makes them so healthy. In fact, traditionally, Okinawans derived up to 60% of their total calories from sweet potatoes.

Purple sweet potatoes have a similar taste to orange sweet potatoes, but they’re a bit less sweet. They have a lower glycemic rating, which is particularly good for diabetics and pre-diabetics.

And here’s a cool fact: Food chemists are using purple potatoes as a natural food dye and an alternative to toxic, synthetic food dyes.

Try these Purple Sweet Potato Patties from Green Evi.

These versatile purple veggie burgers can be eaten hot or cold.

Or try this Slow Cooker Purple Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew from Lucy at Baking Queen 74.

This cozy stew is easy to make and could be a perfect dinner. The recipe calls for a particular vegetable bouillon powder, but you can substitute your preferred bouillon or vegetable broth.

8. Purple Asparagus — Sweeter And A Beautiful Violet Color

The purple variety is less bitter and slighter sweeter than green asparagus. Enjoy it raw in salads (sprinkle with lemon juice or vinegar to boost the color) or cooked (though it loses most of its purple color when heated.)

Try this Shaved Purple Asparagus Salad from Strength and Sunshine.

Strips of purple asparagus are perfect alongside buckwheat noodles (which can be found gluten-free) in an Asian-inspired vinaigrette.

If you want, you can replace the oil in the dressing with an extra teaspoon of the brown rice vinegar. Also, be sure to choose organic or non-GMO corn when shopping for this salad.

9. Purple Brussels Sprouts — Fun If You Can Find Them

In case you’re wondering….Yes, purple Brussels Sprouts keep their color even after roasting Purple veggies rule! #purple #vegetables #brusselsprouts #healthy #cooking #eating #food #foodtrivia #trivia #plantbased #diet #vegan #vegetarian #chef #wfpb

A post shared by Katie Simmons (@chefkatiesimmons) on Nov 26, 2017 at 10:22am PST

While they are hard to grow and can be difficult to find, purple Brussels sprouts have an almost-broccoli like sweetness.

The purple color won’t be lost during cooking (though it will fade). But be careful not to overcook because the leaves aren’t as tightly packed so this variety won’t take as long as the green ones.

Try roasting or steaming them.

10. Eggplant — A Glossy, Purple Food

A more exciting vegetable than you probably think, eggplant can add toothsome texture and flavor to your meals.

The anthocyanins and other nutrients are in the skin. So be sure to keep the skin on when using eggplant. Also make sure it’s ripe. Ripe eggplant is a bit soft to the touch, and white (not green) on the inside.

Try this Eggplant “Parmesan” Made with Pecans from Katie Mae at Plantz St.

Instead of breading and deep frying eggplant slices, this plant-based eggplant “parmesan” gets its crunch from broiled potatoes.

Or try this Quick & Easy Ratatouille from A Virtual Vegan.

Ratatouille is a comfort food and a great way to enjoy eggplant and other delicious veggies. Use it as a sauce, serve it as a side dish, or spoon it over a baked potato or sweet potato.

When shopping for this recipe, keep an eye out for organic or non-GMO zucchini because conventional zucchini can sometimes be genetically modified.

How to Find Purple Foods

Look for purple vegetables at grocery stores, natural foods stores, and your local farmers market.

In addition to the veggies above, you might see others, like purple spinach, purple artichoke, and purple kohlrabi — or even purple snow peas.

But if you want to avoid GMOs, consider that some purple tomatoes are genetically modified. (However, not all purple tomatoes are GMO. For example, one type, Indigo Rose tomatoes, are naturally bred to be purple. So they aren’t genetically modified.)

To avoid purple GMO tomatoes, be sure to choose organic or organic seeds if you want to grow them — (although many growers aren’t impressed with growing the Indigo Rose tomatoes).

And if you have a hard time finding purple foods, don’t panic.

Many of the purple vegetables on this list have non-purple counterparts that also offer wonderful health benefits. If you only have veggies of other colors, you can still make recipes that call for the blue-violet varieties.

Even without that pop of purple, you’ll end up with a delicious, healthy, plant-powered dish. Eating more veggies of any color is always a win!

More Reason to Eat Them — Purple Vegetables Support Biodiversity

Eating purple also supports biodiversity.

Industrial agriculture tends to favor single varieties of vegetables like orange carrots, russet potatoes, or white cauliflower. Vegetables are bred for uniformity using monocropping, rather than for diversity.

This practice puts our food security at risk. A particular pest or disease could come along that wipes out a particular variety. And if that variety is all there is, it could have a damaging impact on food supplies.

Seed diversity contributes to a more resilient food system for all.

Purple Power!

Purple isn’t only a color for royalty. Now you can see why everyone can benefit from eating more purple foods.

If you love purple as much as I do — or you just want to liven up your plate — how will you add more purple foods to your meals?

Let us know in the comments:

  • Do you have any tips for finding or using purple vegetables?

  • Which ones are your favorites?

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“Anthocyanins,” Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 2009.

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Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: “Blueberry Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults,” “Anthocyanins in purple-orange carrots (Daucus carota L.) do not influence the bioavailability of beta-carotene in young women.”

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Journal of Nutrition: “Unraveling the Relationship between Grapes and Health.”

Plant Physiology: “The Purple Cauliflower Arises from Activation of a MYB Transcription Factor.”

BioMed Research International: “Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Fresh and Processed White Cauliflower.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food.”

CNS & Neurological Disorders Drug Targets: “Gut emotions — mechanisms of action of probiotics as novel therapeutic targets for depression and anxiety disorders.”

Journal of Applied Microbiology: “Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health.”

Psychiatry Research: “Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: An interaction model.”

Kansas State University News Services: “The power of purple: Purple foods provide healthy nutrients and antioxidants.”

World’s Healthiest Foods: “Beets.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, release 28: “11080, Beets, raw.”

Nutrients: “The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease.”

ChemMatters: “Eating with Your Eyes: The Chemistry of Food Colorings.”

Environmental Health Perspectives: “DIET AND NUTRITION: The Artificial Food Dye Blues.”

Eating purple fruits and vegetables is an easy and fun way to make sure you’re consuming a diverse array of nutrients and vitamins.

While some fruits and vegetables are purely purple of their own accord – such as blackberries and eggplant – some have been purposefully bred to be purple by nature, traditional agriculture, or selective breeding.

Why Are Purple Foods So Healthy?

Purple fruits and vegetables contain compounds calledanthocyanins, which give foods that royal hue – anywhere from deep red-orange to striking violet to beautiful blue. Breeding plants with anthocyanins creates purple cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, potatoes and cabbage. Plants that contain anthocyanins are better protected against damage from sunlight, and the color also attracts bees and other pollinators.

A 2004 study conducted by the University of Illinois suggests that anthocyanins may help protect cells, heal the body, decrease inflammation, and lower the risk of heart disease and may reduce the risk of some forms of cancer. Purple cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and red cabbage also containindoles, nutrients derived from sulfur compounds that may slow the metabolism of carcinogens according to WebMD. WebMD also notes that berries are good sources ofellagic acid, a phytochemical that may also help protect cell integrity.

In addition to the anthocyanins, indoles, and ellagic acid, these purple fruits and vegetables also contain all the expected nutritional components of fresh produce – such as vitamin A, B2, C, dietary fiber, potassium, and other phenols.

What’s the Best Way To Cook Purple Fruits & Vegetables?

Because anthocyanins are water-soluble (able to dissolve in water), you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck when you eat these fruits and veggies raw, steamed, or roasted. Most purple vegetables are easy to prepare – just use them as you would their paler cousins. Toss berries into breakfast dishes, lunchtime salads, and desserts. Drizzle chopped veggies with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat – and then roast in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes for an easy roasted side dish.

The Ultimate List of Purple Fruits & Vegetables: How Many Have You Tried?

  1. Blackberries
  2. Blueberries
  3. Raspberries
  4. Beets
  5. Red Onions
  6. Figs
  7. Red Grapes
  8. Plums
  9. Cherries
  10. Eggplant
  11. Red Cabbage
  12. Red Leaf Lettuce
  13. Red Belgian Endive aka Radicchio
  14. Swiss Chard
  15. Radishes
  16. Passionfruit
  17. Pluots
  18. Black Currants
  19. Açai Berries (you can only find these frozen in the U.S.)
  20. Purple Potatoes
  21. Purple Cauliflower
  22. Purple Corn
  23. Red Kale
  24. Purple Carrots
  25. Purple Bell Peppers
  26. Purple Broccoli
  27. Purple Artichokes
  28. Purple Asparagus
  29. Purple Kohlrabi
  30. Purple Sweet Potatoes
  31. Black Currants
  32. Purple Snow Peas
  33. Chinese Long Beans
  34. Purple Okra
  35. Purple Green Onions
  36. Ube aka Purple Yam
  37. Elderberries
  38. Purple Thyme
  39. Purple Basil
  40. Edible Lavender
  41. Edible Purple Violets

Make it your mission to try every purple food on this list – or at least keep an eye out for new purple produce that you can use to perk up your plate. What’s your favorite?

Related on Organic Authority

Purple Power! 4 Vegetarian Eggplant Recipes for a Tasty Meatless Monday
7 Spring Vegetables: From Peas to Purple Asparagus
Sweet & Sour Superfoods: The 13 Best Berries in the World

Image of beets via

Eat a rainbow

Fruit and vegetables fall into five different colour categories: red, purple/blue, orange, green and white/brown. Each colour carries its own set of unique disease fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. It is these phytochemicals that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colour and of course some of their healthy properties.

What’s in a colour?

RED
Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.

PURPLE /BLUE
The plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

ORANGE/YELLOW
Carotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid called Betacarotene is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Another carotenoid called lutein is stored in the eye and has been found to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.

GREEN
Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate.

BROWN/WHITE
White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are also a good source of potassium.

Fruit and vegetable colour chart

Red Purple/Blue Orange/Yellow Green Brown/White
Tomato Red capsicum Radishes Strawberries Rhubarb Cherries Red grapes Raspberries Watermelon Red apples Beetroot Red cabbage Eggplant Purple asparagus Blackberries Blueberries Purple grapes Plums Carrots Rockmelon Lemons Sweet potato Pumpkin Pineapples Mangoes Corn Oranges Squash Peaches Nectarines Apricots Grapefruit Spinach Asparagus Avocados Broccoli Peas Green apples Green grapes Limes Kiwifruit Green beans Lettuce Cabbage Celery Cucumber Green capsicum Cauliflower Brown pears Mushrooms White peaches Garlic Bananas Potatoes Dates Onions Ginger Parsnips Turnip

Offering a wide range of colours in children’s food not only looks great but also ensures that children are receiving a great variety of nutrients. Here are some healthy ways you can interest children into the marvellous, colourful world of fruit and vegetables:

Create your own Fruit and Veg Rainbow A great way to keep track of the colours children eat each day is to create a fruit and veg rainbow poster. Every time the children eat a colourful fruit and vegetable they can place a corresponding coloured sticker on the rainbow or get them to colour in a small section on the rainbow. This is also a great activity that parents can do with their children at home. Create a Rainbow on Your Plate Make a tropical rainbow fruit salad with fruits of each colour: oranges, strawberries, mango, rockmelon, kiwifruit, bananas, and blueberries. Stir fry your own mix of vegetables using each colour: red onions, carrots, baby corn, broccoli and mushrooms. Read a book – I can eat a rainbow by Annabel Karmel I can eat a rainbow teaches kids how to eat healthily by enjoying a ‘rainbow’ of food, from purple plums to red apples to greens like spinach and celery. Each two-page spread focuses on food of a different colour.

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Urban Gardening

Purple was a colour reserved only for royalty, a sign of status.

Purple Vegetables can improve your health and diet according to many.

The health benefits of blueberries and even the acai berry have been in the spotlight for some time but there are other foods that share the deep hue that you might not know about.

“If I could eat only one color per day, it would be purple” said James Joseph, who is a neuroscientist at Tufts University’s USDA Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging.

He’s not the only health professional raving about these foods.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, a survey of eating and health habits found that adults who eat purple vegetables and blue fruits have reduced risk for high blood pressure, lower cholesterol and less likely to be overweight.

This is all about a little something called anthocyanin.

This is a plant compound or phytonutrient.

It’s what gives the rich purple color. It mops up free radicals in the system and also soothes inflammation.

Not only does it fortify the immune system from disease, it has been shown to improve memory and over all brain function.

Despite this, purple vegetables and fruits only make up 3 percent of the average Americans intake.

Eat Your Greens Revamped

You probably remember your mom telling you to eat your greens at the dinner table.

Sometimes, it was a chore to choke down those vegetables. A lack of variety often makes people wary to jump onto a healthier diet.

What’s the first purple vegetable that pops into your mind? Probably Cabbage?

Good news is, you don’t have to only eat tons of cabbage to get the health benefits of these super foods.

There is a wide array of purple fruits and vegetables.

  • Purple Cauliflower
  • Purple Heart Potatoes
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Eggplant
  • Kohlrabi
  • Red Lettuce
  • Rhubarb
  • Turnips
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Purple Belgian Endives
  • Kale

And those are just some of the purple vegetables readily available at local and big box markets.

Buy your purple vegetable seed here

Any food that has the purple or blue color, especially fruits like blueberries and blackberries, contain the anthocyanin compound.

It’s easy to incorporate these foods into your normal diet.

You could sprinkle blueberries onto your cereal or you could slice purple grapes and purple carrots and add them to a salad.

There are plenty of recipes out there, and you can swap in the purple version of a vegetable for its original.

Something to keep in mind when preparing these types of fruits and vegetables is that some purple foods store their nutrients in different areas.

For example, eggplant has the anthocyanin in its skin, not the meat. The main health benefit there comes from eating the skin.

You don’t need to choke down fruits and vegetables you don’t like in order to get the nutrients your body needs.

There are always options and variety to fit your palate.

In the case of purple vegetables, they often taste the same as their non-purple counterpart, can be prepared the same way, and can add a lot of color and style to just about any meal you prepare. Rich in color, rich in flavor, purple vegetables take the crown.

Purple fruits and vegetable are like works of art, yet shockingly abundant in the produce aisle. For our exploration through the colors of the fruit and vegetable rainbow, we were able to track down a bright-purple head of cabbage, a box of blueberries, an elegant, long-necked Japanese eggplant, and a peak-season bunch of Spring onions. Looking for ways to enjoy these purple produce items? Then keep reading.

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. Dutch babies are a unique twist on a brunch classic. This blueberry margarita is fun and flirty. A perfect Summer blueberry cobbler sounds delicious all year long. But for a wild way to highlight this sweet berry, blueberry marshmallows are the way to go.

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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.

Spring Onions

Spring onions have a milder flavor than regular onions, but they are more complex than green onions. They bring a sweetness to dishes that undeniably evokes a sense of Spring. Cooked en papillote with cod and asparagus, they bring a delicate onion flavor that doesn’t outshine any of the other ingredients. They can also be cooked down into a jam and enjoyed with goat cheese on toasts. And don’t throw away those green tops! Toss them into your pot of homemade chicken stock for added flavor.

What’s your favorite pick of purple produce?

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Camilla Salem

Purple Vegetables and Purple Fruits

As predicted by the US supermarket giant Whole Foods, 2017 has been the year of the purple foods trend. Like all health conscious individuals and those in the know, the natural colour purple of vegetables and fruits is a great nutritional characteristic, indicating a high concentration of antioxidants. So not only do they make a great addition to the variety of hues in your dish, they also provide you with extra amounts of nutrients. It’s a win-win, really.

Purple Vegetables

The amount of purple vegetables out there is much greater than we probably realise. From purple corn, to purple carrots and purple cauliflower, the options to decorate your bowl and make it Instagram worthy are endless. But it’s not all about the colour – it’s also about the amount of advantages that come from consuming these foods.

Purple Vegetables – Benefits

  • Red (or purple) cabbage. Rich in fibre and various nutrients, red cabbage is particularly healthy as it contains double the amount of polyphenols compared to its green relative. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants able to fight inflammation, DNA damage and counteract the damage brought upon by smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Purple corn. This type of corn contains a wide variety of plant nutrients, which include antioxidants and anthocyanins that give the corn its red/purple colour, further offering anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and even anti-cancer benefits.
  • Eggplants. Pretty common in a basic every day diet, eggplants hold their greatest nutritional value in their purple skin, packing great amounts of iron, calcium and a variety of other vitamins.

Purple Vegetables – Where to Buy Them

Finding purple vegetables at the store is a bit hard, unless you just want to stuck to the classics such as eggplant and beetroot. If you want to try something a bit more exotic and amplify your choices for your next meals, you will definitely have better chances of finding them online.

You could try buying purple cherry tomato seeds, purple dragon carrot seeds or even purple cauliflower. Just imagine how much more appetising you could make your dishes for both your family and guests!

Purple Fruits

  • Acai berries. If you’ve never heard of acai bowls, the only valid explanation for that would be that you haven’t had internet connection for a few years now. Instagram, Facebook and new-age vegetarian and vegan cafe websites are full of pictures of these bowls and they’re nothing short of pretty. Acai berries are packed with fibre, antioxidants, carbs, mineral salts and vitamins such as A, B, C and E, to name a few.
  • Blueberries. The benefits of blueberries are quite well-known to most of us. Studies have shown multiple times their ability to help improve memory, the condition of the cardiovascular system and to maintain blood sugar levels stable.
  • Blackberries. With an antioxidant level content among the highest of all fruits, these little dark purple clusters of bubbles carry large amounts of bioflavonoids as well as vitamin C, making them a perfect addition to your smoothies or fruit salad.
  • Plums. Aside from having a high content of antioxidants and vitamins, plums contain phenols that have been shown to have the potential to combat breast cancer. If that’s not a good choice for your half-morning snack, I don’t know what is!

Purple Roots

  • Purple sweet potatoes. They’re sweet and that’s a valid excuse for you to choose them over their yellow counterparts. An even better reason to eat them is the fact that they contain more than four times the amount of antioxidants than regular potatoes.
  • Beetroot. Ideal for people who suffer from anemia, this purple root vegetable is a nutritional powerhouse. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and lack of fat… beetroots have it all.
  • Purple carrots. Did you know that carrots were originally purple? The common orange tint was a genetic modification established in the late 16th century. However, purple carrots are still grown nowadays preserving their anti-inflammatory properties and their antioxidants content.

Published by Carla Cometto on 7 Ottobre 2017

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