It's easier than ever to "eat the rainbow" of healthy foods
with purple on your plate.
Forget about eating your greens--how about eating your purples? Grapes,
plums and eggplants aren't the only purple-hued foods on supermarket
shelves anymore--and that's a good thing for your diet, says Sarah
Seider, RD, clinical dietitian at
Queen of the Valley Medical Center.
"You've probably heard that you should be 'eating the rainbow'
when it comes to your food to get all the nutrients your body needs,"
says Seider. "Purple is an integral hue in that dietary rainbow.
That's because the purple color is produced by antioxidants called
anthocyanins, which prevent inflammation and cell damage in the body.
In recognition of those health benefits, purple foods are more plentiful
than ever, which makes it easier to incorporate them into your meals."
In recent years, there's been a growing awareness of the power of purple
thanks to superfoods such as acai berries and elderberries. Also, as farmers
markets and specialty growers have proliferated, there's been more
purple produce available to shoppers. "Potatoes, carrots, cauliflower
and asparagus have purple varieties you can find at market," Seider
says. "What's nice is that most people are already familiar with
how to prepare the more commonly colored versions of these vegetables,
and the same techniques--roasting, mashing, sautéing--can be used
for the purple varieties."
Want to try a purple superfood? Check out the acai bowl recipe below.
The purple trend is moving into manufactured foods as well. Purple corn
is used in cereal and tortilla chips; you can also buy purple popcorn
kernels. There are purple potato chips, powdered or frozen pureed acai
for smoothies and dried elderberries for snacking or trail mixes. Black
rice--also known as purple rice for the color it turns after cooking--can
be incorporated into dishes as a grain, much like white or brown rice.
"While it's nice to have more options for purple foods, you should
read the labels as you would with any other manufactured foods to ensure
that they are not laden with calories, fats, sodium or sugar," Seider
says. "Start with fresh produce and whole grains and go from there.
Not only will you get the antioxidants purple foods can add to your diet,
you'll also have a beautifully colored plate of food."
Deluxe Acai Bowl
- 2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) frozen strawberries
- 2 frozen sliced bananas
- 4 tablespoons acai powder
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice), plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons nut or seed butter (like almond)
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon honey, to taste
- Fresh fruit, sliced (like bananas, strawberries, and raspberries)
- Bee pollen
- Clear, runny honey
- Granola (optional)
- Unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
- Dried goji berries (optional)
- Chia or hemp seeds (optional)
- Add the frozen fruits, acai powder, almond milk, nut or seed butter, and
honey to a blender. Blend until creamy and smooth, adding extra almond
milk as needed to get the blender running. Aim for a frozen-yogurt consistency
(it should be thicker than a smoothie).
- Spoon the acai mixture into bowls and top with sliced fruit, bee pollen,
a drizzle of honey and the optional toppings (if using). Serves 2.
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