Purple Passion: 9 Foods With Nearly Magical Properties
When most people think of the color of passion, they see red---but I see purple. It’s the color of kings, of spirituality, of magic and mystery, and I’m always drawn to it. Most of all, I love to see the color purple in my food. When I see the hue in veggies and fruit, I see phytonutrients, protection, healing and nutrients that truly nourish the body. Another bonus? Heavenly flavors and textures, sweet, bitter, crunchy or smooth – purple veggies and fruits offer a world of options.
Next time you’re at the market -- hopefully buying lots of fresh, local, green, red, yellow and orange produce – don’t forget the purples! If local offerings are in short supply, frozen or organic can fill the gap, so no reason not to take advantage of the purple food bounty. They are nature’s hidden gems that sparkle with health-promoting antioxidants in particular, the anthocyanins which are thought to play a role in reducing cancer and heart disease risk, lowering blood pressure and can support brain and eye health. Here are some my favorite purple passions and how to incorporate more of them into your diet:
EGGPLANT & BEETS
Steamed or sautéed with a little extra virgin olive oil, or as the cornerstone of a traditional ratatouille, the best, most nutritious part of the eggplant is the skin, so be sure to include it skin-on! Don’t feel like cooking tonight? Don’t miss out on the purple passion – pick up a package of cooked organic beets, slice a few up to top your salad and voila – instant nutrition boost!
Extra nutrient-rich because of the anthocyanins, their smaller size makes them an adult and kid-friendly finger food that’s a tasty, colorful addition to any plate, on their own or chopped and tossed into salads.
PURPLE CABBAGE, ONIONS & RADISHES
Together or on their own, pickled or fermented, raw or cooked, these three purple prizes bring so much to the table – color, crunch, zing, zest and lots of brain boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits.
BLACK BERRIES, BLACK RASPBERRIES & BLUEBERRIES
How do we love berries? Ah, let us count the ways! For people wishing to eat smarter, berries do not disappoint. They’re a treat you can indulge in at breakfast with oatmeal or Greek yogurt, or anytime you need a wonderfully healthy snack. And for smoothie lovers out there, dark black, purple, blue and red colored berries are delicious cornerstone ingredients, with lots of taste and less sugar than other fruit-based drinks.
For more thoughts on how to create a vibrant diet, a healthy gut and microbiome (the bacteria that live in your gut), check out my book The Swift Diet: 4 Weeks to Mend the Belly, Lose the Weight and Get Rid of the Bloat.