Purple Superfoods and You
For many of us, the science of nutrition can be a scary beast. There‘s a great deal of information out there, and with so many sources of information, some of it is outright confusing or contradictory. Trying to digest this information and come to an informed opinion can then be tricky, as even simple questions have multiple answers. In this respect, most of us know the basics: fruit and vegetables are healthy. But beyond that things are less clear as to what is the very best of these foods available. Here’s a handy introduction to the ‘purple superfoods’, one of nature’s very best foods for your body.
What are purple foods and why should I care?
It is no coincidence that the healthiest fruits and vegetables tend to be of a darker hue. The dark coloring and unusual shape of a beetroot or aubergines (eggplant) may deter some people, but this distinctive appearance is nonetheless synonymous with a plant rich in nutrients. Many berries also fit in the purple superfood category, like blueberries and acai berry. Purple superfoods come in a variety of shapes, sizes and forms, from large picked veggies, to powders, specifically designed to be consumed as a supplement.
There are reliable guides as to what constitutes a purple (and other colored) superfood. Portions of such foods should be included in the diets of absolutely everyone, whether you’re a fitness freak or not. Most of these foods are familiar and are easily picked up in markets for use in standard recipes – red onions and blueberries, for instance. Others, like aubergines and beetroot, may require a little more culinary imagination.
The question must therefore be asked: what makes purple foods so great? To answer this is hardly a secret, they are rich in antioxidants, a substance which carries many health benefits. Thanks to the presence of these, purple superfoods help prevent cellular damage, and have been proven to be highly effective at combating ‘free radicals’, unstable molecules known to cause so-called ‘oxidative stress’. This stress can cause, or exacerbate, a variety of conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It therefore pays to understand (and eat!) purple foods.
Less is sometimes more.
If you cannot stand fruit and vegetables in large doses, just a small quantity of the stuff can still improve your health. For example, a cup of blueberries a week can enhance grey brain matter, thereby improving memory retention and general cognitive functions. Meanwhile, a diet rich in purple superfoods can mitigate the effects of aging, especially the appearance of wrinkles as those malicious elements that degrade your skin over time won’t find it so easy with such a strong defense in place. Just ensure that any purple foods you do buy to add to your diet appear on your plate – around 45% of all fruit and vegetables purchased end up in the trash. As our food options increase so does the likelihood that some of that food ends up as waste. Being smart about food means not just knowing the health benefits but also understanding food economy and how your wallet can benefit as well as your health.
However, purple superfoods are unlikely to end up as waste if you are smart about what role they serve in your diet. For instance, they are a useful source of vital nutrients for those with allergies or particular dietary requirements. Vegetarians can eat beetroot if they want a viable alternative source of protein. Acai berry is most often found as a supplement and can easily be taken in capsule form without worrying about how to prepare it. We like Perfect Acai best because it is organically grown, sustainably harvested and fairly-traded.
The golden (or purple) rule.
As with most things in life, moderation is key. Purple foods will improve your health as part of a balanced lifestyle, but they are not miraculous – if your diet or lifestyle is poor then the effect of these foods will be negligible. But if wisely incorporated, either as a side dish or within recipes, they boast some impressive health benefits, especially as part of a weight loss program. Furthermore, because they are less popular than their more famous fellow fruits and veggies, they tend to be inexpensive and easy to find. The issue for many consumers is that they seem to occupy a tricky niche as regards recipes- many of us wouldn’t be too sure what goes best with beetroot or red cabbage. Fortunately, however, there are a whole host of recipes for purple foods just waiting to be discovered by an intrepid chef.
If you are looking to make a healthy addition to your meals or are simply looking to diversify your diet, purple superfoods are an excellent option – endlessly flexible and enormously beneficial. What’s not to like?