Blue foods: “full to the brim” with nutrients for good health

In the pursuit of optimal nutrition, we have all been instructed (over and over again) to try “eating the rainbow”. For those who may not be familiar with this phrase, this tip means that you should stock your plate with a wide range of fruits and vegetables that represent the various shades found in the rainbow. The greater the inclusiveness of one’s palate to include vibrant and variously colored products, the more likely this diet is also filled to the brim with health-promoting vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds.

In particular, blue (and purple) fruits and vegetables should be included whenever possible. These delicious items, while less common than orange, red, or yellow products, are also packed with nutritional goodness. These foods are good sources of anthocyanins (antioxidant compounds that can help support brain function, improve heart health, and help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and some cancers).

Here are seven powerful and delicious blue fruits and vegetables along with tips for including them in your diet.

Elderberries

Features: Elderberries are small bluish-purple berries.

Why they should be eaten: Elderberries are one of the most popular plant compounds in the world. Evidence suggests that the plant compounds in elderberries can support healthy immune cells and help fight cold and flu viruses. Concentrated elderberry extracts can help fight the flu virus, although this is still under investigation.

How to eat them: Elderberries can be eaten whole, as a juice, syrup or extract. Note: If you eat the berry whole, be sure to cook it first – raw (and unripe) elderberries can cause stomach pain.

Blueberries

Blueberries

Features: Blueberries are small blue to purple berries.

Why they should be eaten: This well-researched fruit is high in fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin K, and is low in calories. Blueberries are stored in anthocyanins, and regular blueberry intake has been shown to help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and conditions of cognitive decline (such as Alzheimer’s disease).

How to eat them: Blueberries can be eaten raw, added to cereals, yogurt or granola, or cooked in bread and more.

Concord grapes

Concord grapes

Features: Concord grapes are dark blue-purple grapes.

Why they should be eaten: Concord grape has higher amounts of antioxidant compounds than purple, red or green grapes. • Concord grape is rich in antioxidants which can help support the immune system.

How to eat them: Concord grapes can be eaten raw (fresh) or made into wine, juice or jam (the latter methods should be used less frequently).

Blackcurrant

Blackcurrant.

Features: Black currants are sour berries and come in a deep bluish purple.

Why they should be eaten: Diets rich in vitamin C can help protect the body from cell damage and chronic disease (including cardiovascular disease). Black currant is an excellent source of vitamin C, which has remarkable antioxidant properties. Vitamin C also supports wound healing, plays a role in supporting the immune system, and helps maintain bones, teeth, and skin.

How to eat them: Black currants can be eaten fresh, as dried fruit, or preserved in jams or juices (although these methods should be used more sparingly).

Blue tomatoes

Blue tomatoes.

Features: Blue tomatoes are also known as purple or indigo pink tomatoes.

Why they should be eaten: Blue tomatoes are rich in anthocyanins, which give off their bluish-purple color. Diets rich in anthocyanins can help reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease, and can help support eye health and brain health. Blue tomatoes also contain antioxidants, such as lycopene, which are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and prostate cancer.

How to eat them: Add sliced ​​blue tomatoes to sandwiches and burgers, wedge-shaped in appetizer salads or diced as a component of fresh salsa or pico de gallo.

Purple carrots

Purple carrots.

Features: Purple carrots are sometimes known as indigo carrots.

Why they should be eaten: All carrots are a good source of Vitamin A and C, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, and more. Purple carrots are a good source of anthocyanins (antioxidants that can help fight inflammation). Diets rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins help fight oxidative stress (an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants), and oxidative stress has been linked to cancer, heart disease, premature aging and cognitive decline.

How to eat them: Enjoy raw purple carrots – slice or shred them and add them to a salad or sandwich, or add them to your next soup or stir-fry.

Blue corn

Blue corn.

Features: Blue corn can vary in color (from light gray to dark purple).

Why they should be eaten: Blue corn contains anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that can help support health benefits. Blue corn may have a higher protein content and lower glycemic index than yellow corn. Research from animal studies suggests that blue corn may also help improve memory (long- and short-term) and may beneficially affect high-density lipoprotein (“good”) cholesterol and help support the reduction of the most harmful lipids. such as total cholesterol and serum triglycerides.

How to eat them: Cooked blue corn can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, sauces, and salads.

Environmental Nutrition is an independent newsletter written by health and nutrition experts.

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