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How to protect your brain health with purple produce

Posted on Jun 07, 2017  | Tags: good for you, fruit and vegetables, purple produce, anthocyanins

How to protect your brain health with purple produce

In colour psychology, the colour purple is associated with royalty, wealth, success and wisdom. It's a spiritual colour, a colour for introspection and self-awareness. Certainly in the world of fresh food, purple foods are king. 

James Joseph, a neuroscientist at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging, and author of "The Colour Code: A Revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health" says that if he could only eat one colour a day it would be purple. There is more research on purple pigment in fresh produce than there is in any other colour and reflecting this is the amount of purple produce being introduced into the market. 

Why to eat purple foods
Purple produce is rich in anthocyanins, a pigment that gives the produce its colour. When first discovered, anthocyanins were of interest to food scientists and food manufacturers because they could be used as natural food colourants. Today we are much more interested in their health benefits. Anthocyanins belong to the flavenoid family of plant compounds. They are particularly powerful phytonutrients with potential disease fighting benefits. Would it ever cross your mind, when shredding red cabbage to make coleslaw that you are playing a role in preventative medicine?

Eggplants, purple sweet potato, dark grapes, kumatoes and other dark heirloom tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries, plums, purple carrots, and red cabbage, are just some of the disease fighting veggies and fruit that can play an active role in reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. 

Purple foods protect the brain
The phytochemicals in these foods have also been found to boost chemicals in the brain to impact learning and memory. Red meat lovers should also take note. One study revealed that excessive iron - found in red meat - in the bloodstream can cross the blood brain barrier and produce toxins in the brain leading to inflammation. Purple foods act as "iron chelators" and bind onto the iron removing it from the body before it reaches the brain.

Purple produce is pretty 
While this may sound a bit lame, we eat for both pleasure and health therefore a meal to look good to be appetising. Interestingly experiments have shown that people naturally preferred brown and yellow food and have difficulty tasting food that "looks" wrong, such as green yoghurt. Purple foods look great.

Here’s a list of our top 10 favourite purple foods available from your local greengrocer

  1. Beetroot
  2. Blueberries
  3. Blackberries
  4. Eggplant
  5. Grapes
  6. Plums
  7. Purple carrots
  8. Purple heirloom tomatoes  
  9. Purple sweet potato
  10. Red cabbage


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