Green foods get all the wellness attention but take a look at your new vegetable prom queen, purple potatoes and purple vegetables. I’m addicted to purple and I make no exception when it comes to foods. Purple vegetables house a ton of valuable vitamins and tend to be extra good for you. If you aren’t adding purple vegetables to your nutrient dense diet, you’re doing it wrong.
Purple vegetables are Replacing Your Green Vegetables.
Normally when you think about eating healthy you tend to stock up on green vegetables and fruits like spinach, kale, broccoli, avocado, green apples, etc. but the purple veggies need love too. Not only are purple vegetables super high in antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients but they are also so pretty. Here are a few of my favs:
Believe it or not, there are a few different varieties of purple potatoes. Japanese sweet potatoes, Okinawa sweet potatoes, and Ube. Fun fact, Okinawan sweet potatoes are the only sweet potato while the other two are yams.
- The Okinawa sweet potato (also known as the Hawaiian sweet potato) landed in Japan somewhere around 1600 and is now a part of the everyday lifestyle of the amazing long life authority Okinawa, Japan. These light outside, purple inside, slightly sweet and creamy potatoes are credited with great skin and the Okinawa’s history of long living. Okinawa is actually one of the 6 places in the world to be considered to be a Blue Zone. In fact, it has the highest concentration of grandmothers well into their 90’s and 100’s so stock up on these purple gems.
Rich in Vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, iron, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants; Okinawan sweet potatoes contain anthocyanin which is an antioxidant that creates their purple pigment.
This miraculous antioxidant has incredible health benefits. Protecting the liver, lowering blood pressure, and destroying free radicals attributing to causing cancer. They also contain anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
2. The Murasaki sweet potato’s interior has an off-white color and a purple outside which differentiates a bit.
3. The Ube sweet potato is actually originally from the US! What a mainlander! Still, the ube is often used in Filipino and Hawaiian cooking and can be used for desserts for its sweet and nutty flavor.
IRL these purple potatoes go EXTRA purple when cooked! (I’m a girl on the go hence the to go container – but I still eat well!)
Containing more beta carotene than orange carrots, these purple wonders also get their pigment from anthocyanin. Anthocyanins have amazing inflammatory properties, help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting, and again are no friend to those harmful free radicals.
These purple beauts are true originals. Actually, almost all carrots before the 17th century were purple so it’s time to get back to our purple carrot eating roots. Originating from Afghanistan, carrots spread throughout Europe…and this person knows even more about the history of purple carrots than I so here.
…is actually purple.
Red cabbage meets green cabbage’s nutritional value and surpasses it in you guessed it anthocyanin polyphenols. It’s also got more C, B6, B1, B2, and B3. More manganese, fiber, potassium, copper, folate, choline, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, iron, calcium, pantothenic acid, and protein. It also has Vitamin K but green cabbage actually has more so, well point for you green cabbage…
Other health benefits include boosting the immune system, fighting inflammation, reducing swelling, adding bone health, and my ultimate favorite promoting a healthy gut when it’s fermented.
Here’s where I get into my German roots and tell you German red cabbage is a MUST for any wellness warrior.
This funny shaped purple food is part of the nightshade family so be sure to stay away if you are currently in the process of trying to reduce any inflammation. However, if you aren’t on an inflammation balancing based diet go nuts because eggplant has a ton of nutrients.
Nasunin is a powerful antioxidant found in the eggplant peels that have been shown to protect cell membranes from damage, eliminate plaque build up in blood vessels, as well as aiding your hearing and cardiovascular health.
These round antioxidant rich goddesses contain Vitamin A, C, B6, and K, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Reducing blood clots, preventing damage to blood vessels, maintaining a healthy blood pressure, aiding digestion, and boosting immunity are just some benefits red grapes and pure red grape juice can have.
*It has also been noted than grape juice may actually provide some of the benefits of red wine without the buzz.
Grape juice has been used in the health community for weight loss and to reduce cravings; Edgar Cayce diet observers are big fans. Grape juice is in stock in my house on the regs. I rely on it for blood cleansing, expelling toxins and my overall skin health. I swear by it so much that if I was going to be stranded on a desert island I would probably bring along a palette of organic red grape juice to last me the rest of my life.
Beets are incredible for reducing artery inflammation which can increase your risk of heart disease. Containing phosphorus, zinc, fiber, protein, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese these purply red root vegetables are also great friends to your liver. Studies have consistently shown beets having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxification support.
Adding beets to salads, smoothies or stews are just some of the many ways to get the benefits of this inflammatory friend.
Also matching the nutrient content of its purple vegetable counterparts with nutrients like manganese, phosphorus, zinc, Vitamin B6, iron, and potassium, this root contains a significant amount of vitamin E. That’s good news for your skin. Taro is also high in fiber so that will make your digestion happy.
Take note though, this popular Polynesian root is toxic when raw because of its high content of oxalates which can cause kidney stones. Taro root has been a staple in the Polynesian diet for over a thousand years most commonly known for Poi, a popular side dish. Taro often shows up in Asian cultures with a variety of uses such as ice cream, taro chips, moon cakes, taro fries, and many other desserts. This starchy root vegetable will likely be the next trend.
What are the health benefits of eating purple foods?
I mean, what aren’t? Potassium, fiber, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, phosphorous, zinc, calcium, folate, niacin, etc.
Clearly purple foods have all the amazing nutrients green vegetables have plus that little extra free radical fighter…anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give these pretty vegetables their purple color and their best quality.
Other Foods That Contain Anthocyanins
While this post is all about purple it would be remiss of me to not mention other anthocyanin rich foods. Other purple vegetables include purple cauliflower, purple kohlrabi and plums. Cherries, pomegranates, blackberries, black currants, and cranberries all contain this wondrous compound as well.
Blueberries also get an honorable mention.
One thing to remember about all foods is how these amazing nutrients work together. While studies consistently suggest the benefits and sing the praises of the nutrient levels in purple vegetables they are continuously hard to study in regard to a definite determination because of how anthocyanins interact with other phytochemicals to increase favorable effects. Since they play well with others it’s sometimes difficult for scientists to decipher what nutrient did what.
The case for adding more purple vegetables to your diet is not only beneficial but fun. It’s also a great way to trick kids (or adults) into trying something new and getting those nutrients in their diets.
Green is gorgeous but purple is just plain old pretty!