Published:
February 1, 2017
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

Why You Should Eat More Blue and Purple Foods

Do you try to eat a rainbow of natural foods every day? If so, you’re treating yourself to a diverse group of nutrients that all play vital roles for your health. Greens, for instance, are detoxifiers, while orange colored foods have cancer preventing properties. And it’s easy to add green and orange produce to your diet, whether you opt for spinach, broccoli, tangerines or carrots. But as you may have noticed, it’s a bit more difficult to find blue and purple foods because there aren’t as many. And “blue” foods, such as blue corn and blueberries, are arguably closer to a purple hue.

But even if they aren’t as easy to find at your grocery store or farmers market, don’t neglect adding blue and purple fruits and veggies to your diet. Why? They actually contain more antioxidants than any of the other colors of produce. Whole Foods has predicted that eating purple foods— including violet varieties of asparagus, sweet potatoes and cauliflower—will be among the top 10 wellness trends in 2017.

Natural blue and purple foods can help prevent a host of health issues, including cancer and high cholesterol.

A study from Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that purple sweet potatoes, in particular, are effective in fighting colon cancer. Purple-fleshed potatoes contain powerful anthocyanins, the antioxidant flavonoids responsible for creating vibrant purple, red and blue hues in plant-based foods. According to a report from Kansas State University, even the extracts from foods containing anthocyanins—such as natural food dyes—provide ample health benefits.

So what are your options for blue-purple produce? In addition to those we already mentioned, check out this list from Fruits and Veggies More Matters for inspiration. Fix yourself a snack of blueberries and blackberries, or make a salad like this purple endive and crab mix.  Or make this delicious acai bowl for a refreshing take on breakfast.

At Integrative Nutrition, we believe in eating a diverse diet of different colors and textures, and adding the rare purple and blue foods to your plate is just one way of doing that. This year, make it a point to enrich your meals with produce representing all colors of the rainbow, not just your typical green. And in the process, we hope you’ll discover some exciting new recipes!

What’s your favorite purple or blue food? Share with us in the comments below!

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