Experts

Experts say purple foods pack a healthy punch

BOSTON, Mass. Some are calling purple the new black, or new green when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

From purple asparagus, purple carrots, even purple sweet potatoes, purple is popping up everywhere, and experts say that’s a good thing!

In a dessert, a smoothie, or in a salad, purple food is packing a healthy punch.

Certified holistic health coach and author, founder of New Day One Life Nutrition Mary Mcalary pinpoints the power of purple.

“It’s a new rage because of the antioxidants that are contained in them,” said Mcalary.

And the darker the purple, the better.

Mcalary explained, “An anthocyanin is an antioxidant that gives the food the purple color. That purple color is what is so healthy.”

But is purple really better? According to the USDA, purple potatoes have four times the antioxidant potential than other potatoes. And there’s more good news…

“I think the more pigment the sweeter the potato, they are delicious,” Mcalary said.

Research scientist Visanti Malik from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says purple food may be a disease fighter.

“Antioxidants are good for you because we believe they can reduce risk of cancer.” Malik shared.

It’s another reason Kathy Moramarco likes purple food. Both her mother and father suffered cancer.

“So I’ve realized that choosing blueberries and pomegranate in attempt to ward off chemo and radiation is a much better alternative,” said Moramarco.

Need another reason? Drop some pounds.

Moramarco continued, “I’ve had my husband on a heavy fruit and vegetable pathway and he’s lost 16 pounds, and he’s looking pretty good so we’re gonna keep adding purple foods into our diet.”

And while purple is royally good for you, don’t forget about your other colors…the greens, yellows and reds all have big nutritional rewards too.

PURPLE FOODS ARE PACKING A PUNCH
REPORT #2439

BACKGROUND: Different nutrients actually convey different colors to the foods they’re in. In fact, several colors should be consumed daily. The blue plus purple fruits and vegetables aid in heart and brain function. This is because the antioxidants, anthocyanins and proanthocyanins, are stored in these fruits and vegetables.

Green vegetables, otherwise known as cruciferous, are said to help prevent cancer by producing more enzymes to clear toxins from the body. Numerous yellow and green vegetables contain lutein and zeaxanthin that prevent age-related macular degeneration that causes blindness. In orange foods like sweet potatoes and carrots, the alpha and beta carotene are converted to an active form of vitamin A. This assists in healthiness of the eyes, bones, and immune system. Lastly red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene that may help protect against prostate and breast cancer.

(Source:http://www.eatingwell.com/food_news_origins/seasonal_local/eatingwell_in_season/eating_well_by_color?page=6)

THE STUDY: In purple fruits and vegetables, the pigment contains flavonoids, including resveratrol, which can help decrease blood pressure. This allows the decrease in the pressure on the arteries, and as a result better circulation. Anthocyanin-rich purple foods like purple sweet potatoes were found in a study to help lower blood pressure in obese and hypertensive adults. The resveratrol originated in purple grapes, cranberries, blueberries, bilberries, red wine, and grape juice can constrain the spread of colorectal cancer. Resveratrol can also limit the cancer deaths found in prostate, breast, skin, liver, lung, and blood cancers. In addition to fighting cancer, the nutrients can fight ulcers. The anthocyanins from blackberries prevent oxidation and boost activity of important antioxidants such as glutathione that naturally exist in the body. Purple foods are also good for the lungs and the heart. The anthocyanins in black rice offer an antioxidant grain to reduce damage of the liver due to excessive alcohol. Black currents, which are berries known for their appetizing flavor, can lower bad LDL cholesterol by 13 percent while raising good HDL cholesterol. Cranberries are not the only source to fight against UTI infections. Vegetables such as purple cauliflower, purple carrots and purple cabbage anthocyanin compounds combat H. pylori, the bacteria that promotes stomach ulcers and urinary tract infections.

(Source: http://blackdoctor.org/204201/purple-foods-health-benefits/)

A TREND: Purple foods have been predicted to be a big trend in 2017. Matthew Plowman, a Nutrition Adviser at Cardiff Sports Nutrition states that the nation is becoming more health conscious and that the new trend is unsurprising. He states, “The benefits of antioxidants have long been discussed, but they are known to fight disease, keep you looking younger, reduce inflammation and are good for your heart – basically, why wouldn’t you eat them?” This new trend, could also be as a result of dishes that include this royally vibrant color. Dishes such as acai bowls, fish tacos with cabbage slaw, cauliflower salads, and purple sweet potato tapioca pudding!

(Sources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/news/start-eating-purple-good-health-science-behind-2017s-new-food/ and https://www.savoirflair.com/culture/275089/food-trends-2017-purple-food)

MORE FROM VASANTI MALIK: “Berries, along with total fruit and apples/pears have been shown to be associated with less weight gain in the Harvard studies. I think that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, purple or otherwise can be beneficial for weight management.”

* For More Information, Contact:

Vasanti Malik, Ph.D.
vmalik@hsph.harvard.edu

Marjorie Dwyer
Media Relations Manager
mhdwyer@hsph.harvard.edu

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