Antioxidants are one of the gifts of produce, and purple (or blue) vegetables and fruits are often high in antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to your diet. Here are seven beautiful examples:
This gorgeous vegetable contains all of the health properties of white cauliflower with the added bonus of extra anthocyanin (that lovely antioxidant that's so great for you!). Just don't be surprised when it turns green once cooked. You can use purple cauliflower in any recipe that calls for cauliflower, such as this recipe for Pan-fried Cauliflower with Spices. To keep its brilliant color, enjoy it raw. Serve with other raw veggies and a yummy vegetable dip, or serve in a Raw Cauliflower Salad.
Red (or purple) cabbage
Whenever I buy cabbage, my 3-year-old requests the brilliantly colored red cabbage (sometimes called purple). It's not only lovely in color, but extra good for you with more than double the amount polyphenols than green cabbage. You can use red cabbage in any recipe using green, such as these five recipes, in Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage or this Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage recipe.
Purple carrots are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. A study with rats found that purple carrot juice reversed the conditions created by a high carbohydrate diet such as pre-diabetes, fat, high blood pressure, heart- and liver-damaged conditions. Different-colored carrots carry different health properties. The purple carrot specifically has 28 percent more of the antioxidant anthocyanin than orange carrots. I like to highlight them in this Simple Carrot Saute.
This pretty, purple-skinned vegetable also contains some of the most potent antioxidants: phytonutrients found in the skin. Eggplant is also a good source of iron, calcium and a host of other vitamins. If you are wary of this vegetable, why not try this Eggplant Crust Pizza for a healthy, grain-free option for an old favorite? Cheese makes everything better. Or check out these five yummy recipes using grilled eggplant.
Photo: Christian Jung/Shutterstock
A Thai restaurant nearby serves an amazing clam chowder that features purple potatoes. The addition adds a lovely color contrast. It also adds more than four times the antioxidants in comparison to regular potatoes, according to the USDA, and scores as high as kale and Brussels sprouts in antioxidants. Purple potatoes were once considered the "food of the gods," so next time you see them in the marketplace, pick some up for a "divine" meal.
There are so many studies on blueberries proving their health-promoting attributes, including studies showing that they may help improve memory, improve the condition of the cardiovascular system, and help with blood sugar regulation. Like all purple produce, blueberries are high in antioxidants. Here are some fun ideas for enjoying blueberries, or try this simple Blueberry Lemon Clafoutis.
These juicy fruits are full of antioxidants and a moderate amount of vitamins and minerals, making them a great choice for the fruit bowl. The phenols found in plums may even be able to combat breast cancer! You can enjoy them in this Plum Clafoutis, in this Plum Sorbet or get 5 more ideas here.
With such beautiful, healthy food as this to enjoy, our food can be delicious, healthy, and easy on the eyes. What's your favorite purple vegetable or fruit?
Related on MNN:
- 14 vegetables you've probably never heard of
- 20 uses for leftover fruit and vegetable peels
- How to create a front yard vegetable garden
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