If you’re someone who pays attention to your diet and includes a range of healthy foods you have heard of antioxidants. These are key in keeping our bodies healthy and able to fight illnesses. All fruits and vegetables that are bright in color contain antioxidants in them. That’s why a balanced diet is said to contain foods that come from each color group.
Naturally purple colored foods contain a strong antioxidant called anthocyanin. This compound gives fruits and vegetables a bright red, purple, or blue color.
Studies show that purple foods may contain anthocyanin but it is too soon to term them ‘superfoods’ like some popular media states.
However, there is research that links anthocyanin pigments to multiple health benefits including improved cardiovascular health, prevention of cancer and dementia, and longer life. So which foods can you consume to increase your intake of this beneficial antioxidant?
Blueberries are known to be a good source of Vitamin C which improves regeneration of cells, iron absorption, and has high amounts of soluble fibre. This has an overall positive impact on the digestive system. Studies show that blueberry supplements aid in increasing brain power in children, and improve memory in adults.
They also have properties of cancer-prevention, but this theory has only been tested on a small sample of animals and does not confirm the implications on the human population.
The royal jewel-like color of the pomegranate indicates the presence of anthocyanin pigments. The fruit is a rich source of fiber and contains Vitamin A, C, E, and iron as well as tannins.
A study indicates that pomegranates boost bone health and may even help prevent osteoporosis in mice. Another research conducted states that the consumption of 50ml of pomegranate juice every day reduces damage to arteries and brings down cholesterol levels in people with narrow arteries.
These studies have been conducted with a limited scope and the findings cannot be certain for a larger sample size.
Beets get their deep purple hue from betalains. Betalains are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. Beetroots are rich with vitamins, minerals, iron, manganese, and potassium. They are high in nitrate concentration which is linked to reduced blood pressure.
Taken daily, beetroot juice is said to improve athletic performance. Including beets in your food may help increase the flow of blood to the brain and prevent dementia.
- Purple Sweet Potato
Popular in Okinawa, a Japanese island, purple sweet potatoes are gaining media buzz worldwide. The population of Okinawa is majorly over 100 years of age and exceptionally healthy. Not only this, they report lower cases of dementia even at 100 and older compared to the West.
Scientists believe this wealth of health in Okinawa can be attributed to the widespread consumption of purple sweet potato in the local diet. There is no concrete study, however, to prove this food alone is the key to good health in Japan.
While the benefits of foods that are anthocyanin color cannot be denied, it is vital to remember to balance your diet with foods from all colors for the best health results.