Why Are Some Veggies Purple?
When looking at purple vegetables, have you ever wondered where they get their color from? Why aren’t they red or yellow or green?
Well, that’s due to the presence of natural coloring agents in plants, such as betacyanins, carotenoids, and anthocyanins.
However, not all purple vegetables are naturally purple. Some of them have gained this color after years and years of genetic engineering. Here’s the thing: humans tweak the genetic makeup of plants to make sure they get the yield of their liking and preference.
This process is known as selective breeding and it helps ensure that the ever-increasing human demand for food is met all over the world. So, while some vegetables are naturally purple, others have gained this color due to selective breeding.
Should You Eat Purple Vegetables?
When you think of purple vegetables, the first one that comes to mind is eggplant. So, you should know that eating purple veggies is completely okay. In fact, it is good for your body.
The color of these veggies comes from anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant. These chemicals are very important for plants since they protect them from cold temperatures and sunlight damage. Plus, this color attracts bees and other pollinators to ensure proper pollination of the plant.
Now, you might be wondering: how do purple vegetables benefit humans?
The short answer for this will be that purple veggies can help keep you safe from different diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. On top of that, they protect your cells from damage and make sure you have a healthy lifestyle.
Since ancient times, these veggies have been used in herbal medicines, such as seeds, roots, berries, and dried leaves. Today, you can cook them in different ways and devour them easily.
Here are the benefits of eating purple vegetables:
The most important thing to know about purple vegetables is their anti-inflammatory effect. That’s because the chemicals present in these veggies have this property.
It is important to control inflammation in the body because it can become the reason for other diseases.
If there is inflammation in your body, it will lead to subsequent problems, such as heart disease, asthma, type 2 diabetes, and depression.
In some cases, if the sickness gets worse, you might even develop cancer. Therefore, it is important to keep inflammation under control and purple veggies can help you do that.
Another benefit of purple veggies is that they keep your heart healthy. If you consume the right amount of anthocyanin, you will feel better internally.
A 2012 study showed that a certain amount of this chemical keeps cardiovascular problems at bay.
Plus, it lowers blood pressure and the stiffness in your arteries. As a result, purple veggies make sure your heart is healthy and you do not end up getting sicker.
Good for Cognition
Purple veggies are not only good for your heart and body but also for your brain. In a 2003 study, it was seen that these veggies can enhance your memory, particularly the purple sweet potatoes.
In another study, it was seen that anthocyanins are immensely helpful in slowing the cognitive decline that takes place due to age.
Since these chemicals can cross the blood-brain barrier, they can go into your brain and improve memory and other learning processes.
Purple veggies also seem to have a role in cancer prevention. A 2013 study showed that anthocyanins are helpful in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. Since it is the third-most common form of cancer in the world, you can imagine the importance of purple vegetables in your diet.
In another study, it was seen that purple corn can block the progression of colon cancer cells.
On the whole, you can see that purple vegetables are very good for your body and you should make them a part of your diet.
If you are not already eating them, make sure to pick up purple veggies the next time you are out grocery shopping.
Nowadays, you can easily find many recipes on the Internet and cook these veggies in different ways.
Which Purple Vegetables Should You Eat?
Now that you know enough about purple vegetables, let’s take a look at their benefits and how you can incorporate them into your daily diet.
Keep in mind that some veggies are naturally this color while others have been engineered to look this way.
Whatever the case may be, the color is directly related to the presence of anthocyanins in the plant and that is what you should be focused on. Here are some purple vegetables that you can eat in your daily diet:
Purple cabbage is very easily available in the market and it is also very healthy for you since it is rich in antioxidants.
These chemicals are great for your body since they help reduce oxidative stress and keep you healthy from the inside.
Along with giving you relief from anxiety and depression, purple cabbage also protects you from cancer.
As for the taste, it is similar to regular green cabbage. However, the leaves are thicker as compared to the green cabbage.
You can use it in your salads or make rolls using purple cabbage. The options are limitless.
2. Purple Onion
If you have never heard of purple onion, it is possibly because it is commonly known as red onion. Not only is purple onion extremely easy to find but it is also affordable in most parts of the world.
A 2017 study showed that this onion can help protect you from cancer. On top of that, you can use purple onion in a wide range of recipes.
3. Purple Carrots
Many people are surprised to know that carrots were not always the color they are today. In fact, people in Afghanistan started growing them about a thousand years ago, and back then, they used to be yellow and purple.
Over the years, orange carrots flooded the market. However, now, purple carrots are also available in the market since scientists have found them to have certain useful chemicals and nutrients that are not present in orange carrots.
You can add purple carrots to your salad bowls or cook them.
4. Purple Cauliflower
Another of the purple vegetables that you should definitely try is purple cauliflowers. They have more antioxidants than kale, which is famous for its addition to salads. You can either use purple cauliflower in salads or cook it. It has a milder flavor as compared to white cauliflower.
5. Purple Kale
Speaking of kale, purple kale is also available and you can make it a part of your healthy diet if you do not want to use black or green kale. In fact, it has a more intense flavor as compared to other colors of kale.
Again, you can steam purple kale or use it in salads.
6. Purple Potatoes
Yes, we were just as surprised as you are to find out about purple potatoes. They are rich in antioxidants and are really good for your body since they lower blood pressure. A 2012 study confirmed this. On top of that, the study also showed that purple potatoes reduce your risk of stroke and heart diseases.
If you want to get the maximum benefits of these purple vegetables, make sure to not peel the skin off.
7. Purple Asparagus
Another thing that you can add to your salads is purple asparagus. Not only does it bring beautiful color to your salad bowl but also makes it healthier. The vegetable is rich in antioxidants and helps cleanse your body from the inside.
How to Eat More Purple Vegetables?
If you are struggling with increasing the number of purple vegetables in your diet, follow these tips:
- Start by replacing your regular veggies with their purple counterparts.
- You can search for purple vegetables online and see which stores near you stock them.
- Try to add all colors to your salad bowl. In this way, you will make an effort to add purple vegetables to your salads.