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Eating A Rainbow

Health-promoting antioxidants called anthocyanins give certain foods their blue, violet, or reddish-purple coloring.

Evidence suggests that eating purple and blue fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, gum disease, stomach ulcers, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, urinary tract infections, age-related memory loss, and obesity.

Choosing blue and purple foods may provide other benefits as well.

For example, research has shown that blue corn chips are higher in protein and lower in starch than white corn chips, and they also have a lower glycemic index, which means that they may be better for those with diabetes and dieters.

Naturally blue foods include blueberries, blue corn, blue potatoes, black grapes, and borage flowers. Naturally purple foods include blackberries, chokecherries, blackcurrants, purple grapes, purple cauliflower, red cabbage, purple carrots, beetroot, prunes, aubergines (eggplants), and figs.

You can increase your consumption of blue and purple foods by adding berries to cereal or making smoothies or baked treats with them; choosing darker grape varieties for snacks; cooking with blue potatoes rather than white; making salads with purple carrots and red cabbage; baking eggplant parmesan or other aubergine recipes; snacking on blue corn chips; grating beetroot into salads.

Of course, blue and purple fruits and vegetables aren’t the only health-promoting produce options.

It’s best to eat a rainbow of produce colors, as each color is associated with its own spectrum of health benefits.

Kellow, J., BSc, RD, “Eat  Rainbow of Purple and Blue Food,” Weight Loss Resources, n.d.
Oz, M., DR, “The Power of Purple Foods,” 10 May 2011.
Sample, I., “Forget Eating Your Greens: Red and Blue Foods Are the Cancer Fighters,” The Guardian, 20 August 2007.
Warner, J. (Reviewed by Chang, L., MD), “Blue Corn Tortilla Packs Healthy Punch,” WebMD, 30 July 2007.

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