Purple Food for Health + Wellness
There’s something about growing different types of the same old-same old veggies — it’s fun and intriguing to try something new, right? But when you add a cool color like purple to the mix, now we’ve got a party ready to be started! Purple calls to mind health (hello, antioxidants!), creativity, and fun — so if you’re ready to shake up your veggie routine, look for these purple-hued varieties at a garden center near you.
Purple cauliflower: Yes, white cauliflower is delicious, but purple cauliflower packs much more of an antioxidant whallop with the same yummy taste. In general, purple cauliflower changes its violet hue to pale green when steamed or cooked, so if you want to retain that vibrant color, enjoy it raw. It’s scrumptious with other raw veggies dipped in hummus or a nut-based dip. Good varieties to try are Graffiti and Purple of Sicily.
Purple carrots: Move over, orange carrots! I’m sorry to say, your purple siblings offer more nutrition and more wow power on the plate than you do. While purple carrots are lower in natural sugars than the orange types, they also boast 28% more antioxidants. The taste is usually similar to orange carrots but can also be a bit on the spicy side depending upon the variety. Outer skins are purple while inner color is purple, white, or orange — and while some purple carrots lose their color when cooked, others maintain it. Look for Cosmic Purple, Purple Dragon, and Black Nebula.
Purple potatoes: Like cauliflower and carrots, purple potatoes have 4x more antioxidants than their white counterparts — and equal to kale and Brussels sprouts! The look of purple potatoes can vary widely, from purple skins and flesh, to purple skins and white flesh, or even marbled purple and white flesh. Depending upon the type, some purple potatoes lose a bit of their color when cooked, while others deepen and still others turn to a bluer shade. Try Purple Peruvian, Adirondack Blue, and Purple Viking.
Purple asparagus: By now, you know that the purple color indicates a higher antioxidant level (specifically anthocyanin), and purple asparagus is no exception. The skin is purple while the flesh is either white or pale green. It’s more tender and sweet with up to 20% higher sugar content, and typically has less fiber. Expect the color to dull a bit when cooked. Consider Purple Passion or Pacific Purple.
What's the big deal with antioxidants? You've probably heard of free radicals — unstable atoms that are linked to heart disease, cancer, and many other health issues. Antioxidants, found in many foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, meat, poultry and fish help protect the body from the damage caused by free radicals — and more vividly colored foods (the deep reds, purples, and greens) have a higher concentration of these valuable antioxidants. Score!
And Guess What? Purple's the "In" Color!
Ever heard of the Pantone Color of the Year? No? You're missing out! Pantone is a company that develops color-matching formulas for the design industry, and each year, they proclaim the Color of the Year which predicts color trends. Guess what it is for 2018? Ultra Violet!
While color trends may come and go, the association that people have with certain colors tend to stay pretty much the same (color theory). Because of this, there's another reason to love purple:
And here we have it -- the intersection of healthy food and wellness, and you KNOW I'm all about that! So, get out of your comfort zone and plant some purple food this year -- do it for your tummy, your body, and your eyes.