Purple is the New Green, from Tara Gidus Collingwood, MS, RDN, CSSD

Food trends come and go, so what is this year trending toward?  You know you’re supposed to eat your greens, but what about your purples? It’s the latest trend when it comes to produce.

You may have heard the phrase, “eat the rainbow” when it comes to fruits and vegetables. This means eating a wide variety of colorful foods daily.  Most of us are familiar with the usual colors: orange carrots, red peppers, green spinach…but why not follow the trend and add in some purple? I love finding some of my favorite fresh purple produce at ALDI, like eggplant, blueberries and blackberries. What makes these foods different, and what are the benefits of expanding your rainbow?

The purple color comes from a pigment called anthocyanin, which is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants may prevent potential disease-causing damage to cells, thus protecting us from the inside out. Anthocyanin in particular may improve overall vision and night vision, and there is some evidence that anthocyanins may prevent cancer cells from multiplying and tumors from developing. Additionally, these antioxidants may provide protection from heart disease by reducing inflammation and strengthening blood vessels. Behold, the power of purple!

You can easily incorporate purple foods into your diet. Check out some of my favorites below:

  • Try adding blueberries or blackberries to Friendly Farms Greek Yogurt for a breakfast parfait.
  • Blend together a delicious Tropical Superfruit Smoothie or Blackberry Avocado Smoothie Bowl.
  • Pour yourself a glass of Nature’s Nectar 100% Grape Juice.
  • Add some eggplant to your favorite roasted vegetables.
  • Enjoy a handful of SimplyNature Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.

Why is “eating the rainbow” better than taking a rainbow of supplements? Colorful fruits and vegetables contain a myriad of nutrients, including antioxidants, that work together to promote health and prevent disease. These nutrients are easily absorbed when they are eaten with whole foods, while supplements usually contain only isolated nutrients and may not be effective. Eating a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins will provide the antioxidants and other nutrients you need in their best-absorbed form.

Even if you’re not usually one to follow trends, the purple bandwagon is definitely worth jumping on. The antioxidant-related health benefits of purple foods are numerous and the variety of options means there are more and more opportunities to get your purple fix. Trends are constantly changing, but purple is here to stay and should be a permanent addition to your rainbow of food choices.

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