5 Reasons You Need to Eat Purples!
The old saying, “eat your greens”, has haunted many of us since childhood. The battle of broccoli has ruined family dinners for decades, turning every meal into a power struggle. While green vegetables are proven highly beneficial, other colors of the rainbow are often forgotten. Enough of greens, let’s talk purples!
Deeply colored plants like purples, blues and dark reds are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanin. Anthocyanin, which makes for the beautiful color of these plants, have major nutritional benefits, too. According to the experts, “Anthocyanins act as powerful antioxidants protecting cells from damage… the darker the blue/purple hue, the higher the [antioxidant] concentration.”1
What do “antioxidants” do, anyway? Take a look at what eating a diet rich in antioxidants will do for you:
Kicks Cancer’s Butt!
I’ve previously discussed free radicals - damaged cells that occur as a result of toxic environmental stressors like pollutants, or smoking. Free radicals also occur naturally as we age, but too many of these damaged cells can cause issues. Cancer is one of the many horrific illnesses that result from too many free radicals in the body.2
You are not defenseless against the threat of illness. In the article “Eating Rainbows”, Drs. Nancy Burke and Joan Daniels address how the anti-inflammatory antioxidants found in blue and purple plants are beneficial for lowering the risk of cancer, as well as other illnesses like heart disease.3 These vibrant plants are worth their weight in gold!
Offsets Environmental Damage
Since the microwave, we’ve been rightfully weary of how our modern-day conveniences are impacting our health. Pollutants in our air and water cause free radicals in the body, those pesky damaged cells that threaten our immune system. Big corporations often claim their supplements can combat disease, introducing more pills into our dystopian diet. Luckily, you don’t have to join a pyramid scheme to access the vitamins you need to combat these harmful cells. The preventative nature of antioxidants is due to their ability to offset toxins in the body. The Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism suggests that eating a diet rich in antioxidants can buffer the effects environmental damage has on our health.4 Delicious deeply colored plants like blackberries and pomegranates are an easy way to get the vitamins you need, to stay in good health!
Unclogs Your Arteries
At this point, it’s clear that antioxidants are vital in taking preventative measures in the body. For a lot of us, that might be too little, too late. People already suffering from health issues will be excited to learn about how antioxidants can be beneficial for them, too.
Patients with cardiovascular issues can benefit big-time from a diet rich in antioxidants. An article published in Horticulture International informed readers “compounds found only in pomegranate called punicalagins are shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels… They not only lower cholesterol, but also lower blood pressure and increase the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.”5 This goes beyond preventative measures and offers benefits for those already suffering from high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Additionally, plants rich in antioxidants like eggplant have been shown to lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.6 Perhaps eggplant parmesan is the next superfood?
Stops Wrinkles in their Tracks
When it comes to health issues, it’s easy to think “that won’t happen to me”. Unfortunately, there’s another effect that free radicals have on our body that we cannot escape: aging. As we age, we accumulate more and more of these damaged cells, causing the body to deteriorate.
An article published in the Journal of Nursing and Health Science explains that aging is “induced by the formation of free radicals… This can lead to damaged cells, tissues, and organs, which manifest as the physical declines of aging.”7 Free radicals are once again, an enemy to our body- and this time it’s visible.
Want to keep looking fresh faced? Eat a diet rich in antioxidants to combat free radicals and limit their damage to your body!
Another lovely thing to look forward to as we age: cognitive decline! The older and wiser we get, the less our short-term memory seems to work. Guess what’s the cause of cognitive issues like dementia? Free radicals, of course. Our damage cells not only threaten our heart health, immune system, and cancer- but issues in the brain like Alzheimer’s.
Scientists found that berries “are antioxidant powerhouses that can protect the brain from oxidative damage, preventing premature aging and memory-impairing dementia.”8 Candy like blueberries are not only delicious but actually help your brain function. Maybe eating more berries will result in less of those awkward “what’s your name again?” moments.
How Can You Get Your Antioxidants?
There are many plants that provide a high antioxidant content. Eggplants, blueberries and beets, there’s something for everybody. If these don’t fit with your cuisine, or you have a picky eater in your house, you aren’t out of options.
Purple radish microgreens have all the nutrition of these deeply colored plants, at up to 40x the concentration. They’re soft enough to pair with anything, but they won’t go unnoticed as they add a spicy kick. They’re great in a burger, sandwich or wrap!
The amaranth and beet microgreens in the Giant Gorilla Greens House Salad Microgreens Mix gave this Thai Noodle Salad some much needed color! They add a nice earthy flavor to your meal.
If you’re looking to fit more antioxidants into your diet, consider adding some microgreens! Concentrated nutrition, immune boosting & disease fighting - the benefits are unbeatable - and they are beautiful to look at, too!
1Rutherford-Fortunati, Alisa. “Phytochemicals: Eating from the Rainbow!” Gentle World, Gentle World, 15 Apr. 2014, gentleworld.org/phytochemicals-eating-from-the-rainbow/.
2Saha, Subbroto Kumar, et al. “Correlation between Oxidative Stress, Nutrition, and Cancer Initiation.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, MDPI, 17 July 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5536032/.
3Daniels, Joan, and Nancy Burke. “Eating Rainbows.” Rogel Cancer Center | University of Michigan, 13 June 2018, www.rogelcancercenter.org/living-with-cancer/mind-body-side-effects/nutrition/eating-rainbows.
4Minich, Deanna M. “A Review of the Science of Colorful, Plant-Based Food and Practical Strategies for ‘Eating the Rainbow.’” Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, Hindawi, 2 June 2019, www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2019/2125070/.
5Tyagi, Satyanand, et al. “Punicalagins-A Large Polyphenol Compounds Found in Pomegranates: A Therapeutic Review.” Horticulture International, NC State University, 2012, hortintl.cals.ncsu.edu/articles/punicalagins-large-polyphenol-compounds-found-pomegranates-therapeutic-review.
6 Nwanna, E. E., Ibukun, E. O., & Oboh, G. (2016). “Effect of some Tropical Eggplant Fruits (Solanum Spp) Supplemented Diet On Diabetic Neuropathy In Experimental male Wistar Rats In-vivo.” Functional Foods in Health and Disease, 6(10), 661. doi:10.31989/ffhd.v6i10.296
7Singh, Shruti, and Suita Mishra. Http://Www.iosrjournals.org/Iosr-Jnhs/Papers/vol6-issue1/Version-8/L0601088187.Pdf.” IOSR Journal of Nursing and Health Science, vol. 1, no. 04, 2013, pp. 43–47., doi:10.9790/1959-0601088890.
8Garden-Robinson, Julie, et al. “Nourish Your Brain With a Healthful Diets.” North Dakota State University. Nov. 2017, www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/nourish-your-brain-with-a-healthful-diet.