Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

Eat Right With Color: Blue and Purple Fruits and Veggies

Jane Schwartz Harrison is a registered dietitian and lifestyle writer for www.myOptumHealth.com. She is also the editor of their Nutrition and Healthy Weight, Healthy Kids hubs, and provides nutrition expertise through writing articles, developing menu plans and recipes, and supporting a nutrition column. Working in the nutrition field for the past 20 years, Jane has maintained a successful private practice and lectures regionally.

Feeling blue? In nutrition circles, this would be considered a good thing! Blue and purple fruits and veggies are colored by natural plant pigments called “anthocyanins.” Anthocyanins, part of the flavonoid family, are powerful antioxidants.

A recent survey found that adults who eat purple and blue fruits and vegetables have reduced risk for both high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind); they are also less likely to be overweight.

Other health benefits include:

  • Reducing the risk of cancer, and slowing down the first stages of cancer development
  • Reducing risk of stroke and heart disease
  • Improved memory and healthy aging

Currently, purple and blue foods make up only 3 percent of the average American’s fruit and vegetable intake. To up your quota, try some of these tasty suggestions:

Blackberries and blueberries

  • Mix into yogurt, cereal or pancake batter
  • Use frozen berries for fruit smoothies
  • Add to cobblers or muffins

Plums

  • Add plum slices to cold cereal
  • Dice and toss into a fruit salad
  • Poach in red wine and serve with lemon zest

Prunes

  • Eat plain as a delicious snack
  • Add to oatmeal
  • Dice and add them to muffins or quick bread

Purple grapes

  • Munch on fresh
  • Freeze for a delicious cool treat
  • Dice and add to salads

Raisins

  • Sprinkle on salad
  • Add to whole grain muffins
  • Toss into cold or hot cereal

Purple cabbage

  • Shred and add to salads or soups

Eggplant

  • Brush with olive oil and a dash of salt, and grill
  • Cut into rounds, layer with low-fat cheese and tomato sauce, and bake
  • Make ratattouie
  • Sauté with mushrooms and zucchini and add to tomato sauce

Purple potatoes

  • Use to make colorful potato salad
  • Dice and add to soups
  • Slice thin and sauté in olive oil with onions and garlic

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March 20th, 2011

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