Power of purple

Greens tend to hog the limelight, but filling your plate with purple foods may be a very smart choice right now. They’re really incredible for your health.

Registered dietician at Nutri & Flora, Dr Florence Malongane lists a few of the health benefits of purple fruit and veggies.

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Grapes

Rich in antioxidants and nutrients such as potassium, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, selenium, vitamins A, C and B6, among other benefits. Red grape skin is very high in resveratrol, which accounts for many health benefits such as supporting heart health, cholesterol level management, prevents signs of ageing and other skin problems, offers antioxidant support and helps the body’s ability to manage healthy blood sugar levels.

Blueberries

Similar to grapes, blueberries are rich in dietary fibre, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, zinc, vitamins A, C and various types of vitamin B. Not only do they protect against heart disease and cancer, but help with digestion, deliver healthy antioxidants, improve skin health, promote healthy bones, support healthy blood pressure and boost brain function.

Blackberries

A single serving of blackberries provides about half your daily recommended intake of vitamin C!  Even more impressively, they’re very high in fibre and are a great source of vitamin K. Other benefits of this superfruit include the improvement of oral health, a healthy heart and bones, full of antioxidants, an immunity booster, have anti-cancer properties and improve brainpower, including cognitive and motor function.

Figs

Figs aren’t only delicious, but they’re also a great way to get fibre, calcium, potassium and magnesium, all of which are nutrients many of us don’t regularly get enough of. They have many potential benefits, including promoting digestive and heart health, along with potentially helping manage blood sugar levels and promoting healthy skin.

Eggplant

They’re packed with vitamins C, K and B6 and an ample amount of potassium, manganese and fibre. This vegetable (technically a fruit) also contains antioxidants that help promote heart health, control blood sugar levels, reduce cancer risk, improve cognitive function and aid weight loss.

Red cabbage

Packing more vitamins (C, K, A), dietary fibre, and other nutrients in a standard serving size than many other foods, this single plant can help improve the function of your immune system, fight chronic inflammation, and even improve blood clotting. Ancient Romans apparently used cabbage to restore their bodies after heavy alcohol consumption. Try munching some red cabbage the morning after!

Beetroot

That bright red root isn’t just a looker. Beets and beet greens are loaded with life-giving minerals, including magnesium (which has lots of benefits, including Alzheimer’s prevention), potassium (which aids heart, kidneys, muscle, nerve and digestive functions), copper, iron, and phosphorus, an essential mineral aiding cell function throughout the body – and it’s good for bones and teeth, too. Beets are also a great source of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as healthy fibre.

Red onions

Not only are they pretty and colourful on your plate, but they could also help give your body a health boost. Why? Because red onions are packed with vitamins and minerals, including folate, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and vitamins C, K and B6. Other benefits include that they may stop cancer cell growth, control diabetes, help ease arthritis, cure sore throats and help with constipation.

Grow your own

Purple cauliflower? No … it’s not some experiment gone wrong. The purple colour is caused by the presence of anthocyanins (an antioxidant), which can also be found in red cabbage and blueberries. It packs a bit more flavour, and cooks a little faster, than its white cousin. This cauliflower is a great source of vitamins C, K, B6 and fibre. Because it’s not always available you can grow your own. Shop for the seeds online for R24.99 from Woolworths.

Black rice (also known as purple rice) – an antioxidant-rich grain that has a nutty flavour profile – has more anthocyanins a gram than blueberries and has been found to reverse the effects of alcohol on the liver! Organic black rice, R84.95, Wellness Warehouse.

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