16 Delicious and Nutritious Purple Foods
Though the color purple is most often associated with fruits, there are many types of purple-colored foods to choose from, including vegetables and grains.
Here are 16 purple foods that are as nutritious and delicious as they are visually appealing.
Blackberries are among the most well-known purple fruits. These juicy berries are packed with nutrition and potent anthocyanin pigments.
Anthocyanins are a type of polyphenol compound that gives foods their purple, blue, or red colors. They're found in high concentrations in the other fruits, vegetables, and grains on this list.
They act as strong antioxidants in your body, protecting your cells from damage and reducing inflammation that may otherwise lead to negative health outcomes.
Anthocyanins promote your health in various ways. Eating anthocyanin-rich foods like blackberries may protect against many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease (1Trusted Source).
Blackberries are also loaded with other strong polyphenol antioxidants, as well as fiber and micronutrients, including vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. All these nutrients make blackberries a highly nutritious choice for a tasty, sweet treat (2).
2. Forbidden Rice
Black rice (Oryza sativa L. indica) — often referred to as "forbidden rice" — is a unique rice variety that takes on a deep purple color when cooked (3Trusted Source).
Unlike other rice varieties, highly pigmented forbidden rice is an excellent source of anthocyanins, which may have cancer-fighting effects.
This striking grain makes a colorful substitution for white or brown rice and can be used in a number of recipes, such as soups, stir-fries, and pilafs.
3. Purple Sweet Potatoes
All sweet potatoes are highly nutritious, providing many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, provitamin A, potassium, and B vitamins. Purple sweet potatoes have the added benefit of containing anthocyanin antioxidants (6Trusted Source).
Test-tube and animal research shows that purple sweet potatoes may have anti-inflammatory properties and even protect against obesity and certain types of cancer, including colon cancer (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
You can use purple sweet potatoes as a substitute for more common orange-fleshed sweet potatoes in any recipe.
Eggplants come in a variety of colors, but purple-skinned eggplants are among the most common.
Though not as nutrient-dense as some of the other foods on this list, eggplants are high in antioxidants and manganese, a mineral essential for bone health and metabolism (10Trusted Source).
The peel of purple eggplants is especially concentrated in the anthocyanin nasunin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and heart-protective properties in animal and test-tube studies (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
5. Purple Cauliflower
Purple cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) is a visually stunning cruciferous vegetable. Unlike white-colored varieties, purple cauliflower contains anthocyanins thanks to a genetic mutation that gives them an intense purple hue (13Trusted Source).
Purple cauliflower not only adds color to any dish but also offers anti-inflammatory benefits and may protect against certain cancers, including colorectal cancer (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
6. Purple Carrots
Purple carrots are sweet-tasting, crunchy vegetables that are packed with a wide array of polyphenol antioxidants, including anthocyanins, cinnamic acid, and chlorogenic acid.
Research has shown that people who consume polyphenol-rich diets have lower rates of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes than those who consume diets low in these important antioxidants (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
7. Redbor Kale
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, and the purple-tinged Redbor variety is no exception. One study found that Redbor kale extract contained 47 powerful plant compounds, including kaempferol, quercetin, and p-coumaric acid (21Trusted Source).
Because of its distinctive color and interesting texture, Redbor kale is often used as a decorative plant to add visual appeal to gardens and planters.
However, it's also edible and highly nutritious. You can use it in the same way as other leafy greens in many different recipes.
8. Passion Fruit
Passiflora edulis is a tropical vine cultivated for its ability to produce delicious fruits known as passion fruit. Ripe passion fruits have a yellow or purple rind that covers sweet, soft flesh filled with crunchy seeds.
Passion fruit contains a special polyphenol antioxidant called piceatannol, which has been shown to have several remarkable health-promoting properties and may be especially beneficial for skin health.
For example, a test-tube study found that piceatannol isolated from passion fruit protected skin cells from sun damage. Furthermore, a study in 32 women with dry skin demonstrated that taking 5 mg of piceatannol for 8 weeks increased skin moisture (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
9. Purple Mangosteen
The tree Garcinia mangostana has been grown since ancient times in tropical areas for the fragrant, purple-toned fruit it produces — the mangosteen.
Mangosteens have a tough, deep purple outer rind that must be removed to enjoy the tangy, slightly sweet fruit found inside.
Mangosteens are packed with fiber and folate, a B vitamin essential for many important processes in your body, including the production of DNA and red blood cells (24Trusted Source).
These unique fruits also contain antioxidants called xanthones, which have been shown to provide anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and anticancer properties in some studies (25Trusted Source).
10. Purple Asparagus
Although asparagus is most often associated with the color green, this vegetable also comes in other hues, including white and purple.
Purple asparagus adds visual appeal and nutritional benefits to recipes, providing a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and potent plant compounds. It's an excellent source of anthocyanins.
Purple asparagus is also the asparagus variety with the highest concentration of rutin, a polyphenol plant pigment that may have powerful heart-protective and anticancer properties (26Trusted Source, 27, 28Trusted Source).
11. Acai Berries
Acai berries are small, deep purple fruits that have become popular in the wellness world due to their high concentration of antioxidants, including anthocyanins.
Acai berries can be incorporated into various recipes, including acai bowls — a Brazilian dish consisting of frozen, blended acai berries. They are also made into juices, powders, and concentrated supplements for medicinal uses.
These tasty purple berries may improve your health in many ways. They may increase blood antioxidant content and help reduce high cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and inflammation (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).
12. Purple Star Apple
The purple star apple — Chrysophyllum cainito — is a tree that produces round fruits that turn purple when ripe. The fruits have sweet flesh that secretes a milky juice and has a radiating star pattern when cut.
People have used the fruit, bark, and leaves of the star apple tree medicinally throughout history to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, pain, and diabetes (31Trusted Source).
13. Purple Cabbage
All varieties of cabbage are exceptionally nutritious. However, purple cabbage — also known as red cabbage — contains anthocyanins, which boost the health-promoting properties of this cruciferous vegetable even higher (34Trusted Source).
Purple cabbage is loaded with fiber, provitamin A, and vitamin C. It provides potent anti-inflammatory effects thanks to the high levels of powerful plant compounds found in its highly pigmented leaves (35, 36Trusted Source).
Purple cabbage can be used in the same way as green cabbage and makes an excellent addition to slaws, stews, and stir-fries.
Elderberries are known for their intense purple color and immune-boosting effects. People take concentrated elderberry products, such as syrups and capsules, as a natural remedy to treat colds and the flu.
Elderberries are also high in fiber and vitamin C, and they're commonly eaten cooked in jams and jellies or made into juice, wine, or concentrated syrups.
15. Red Dragon Fruit
Red dragon fruit has a bright, reddish-purple flesh dotted with tiny, black, edible seeds. This tropical fruit has the texture of a kiwi, and its taste is often described as mildly sweet.
Dragon fruits are low in calories yet packed with fiber, vitamin C, and magnesium, making them a nutritious addition to fruit salads and other sweet dishes (39).
Red dragon fruits also contain a high concentration of protective antioxidants.
Test-tube research suggests that extract from red dragon fruit may have the ability to stop the growth of certain types of human cancer cells, including breast cancer, and may induce cancer cell death (40Trusted Source).
16. Purple Barley
All barley types are high in fiber and minerals, such as manganese, iron, magnesium, and selenium. Along with these nutrients, purple barley is loaded with anthocyanins, making it an excellent choice for a nutrient-rich ingredient (42).
Barley is also high in beta-glucan, a type of fiber that has been linked to a number of health benefits. Research shows that beta-glucan may promote digestive health, reduce heart disease risk factors, and improve immune response (43Trusted Source).
Additionally, those who consume diets rich in whole grains like purple barley have lower rates of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers (44Trusted Source).
The Bottom Line
Purple-pigmented foods offer a host of health benefits and add color to your diet.
Incorporating purple foods like blackberries, Redbor kale, acai berries, forbidden rice, purple carrots, and elderberries into your meal plan can ensure you are consuming a powerful dose of anthocyanin antioxidants and a variety of important nutrients.
Try adding a few of the fruits, vegetables, and grains on this list to your next meal or snack to take advantage of their health-promoting properties.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
- Pruitt Guts the Clean Power Plan: How Weak Will the New EPA ... ›
- It's Official: Trump Administration to Repeal Clean Power Plan ... ›
- 'Deadly' Clean Power Plan Replacement ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jonathan Runstadler and Kaitlin Sawatzki
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found coronavirus infections in pet cats and dogs and in multiple zoo animals, including big cats and gorillas. These infections have even happened when staff were using personal protective equipment.
- Gorillas in San Diego Test Positive for Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- Wildlife Rehabilitators Are Overwhelmed During the Pandemic. In ... ›
- Coronavirus Pandemic Linked to Destruction of Wildlife and World's ... ›
- Utah Mink Becomes First Wild Animal to Test Positive for Coronavirus ›
By Peter Giger
The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.
A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
By John R. Platt
The period of the 45th presidency will go down as dark days for the United States — not just for the violent insurgency and impeachment that capped off Donald Trump's four years in office, but for every regressive action that came before.
- Biden Announces $2 Trillion Climate and Green Recovery Plan ... ›
- How Biden and Kerry Can Rebuild America's Climate Leadership ... ›
- Biden's EPA Pick Michael Regan Urged to Address Environmental ... ›
- How Joe Biden's Climate Plan Compares to the Green New Deal ... ›
Washington state residents are taking climate matters into their own hands. Beginning this month, 90 members of the public join the country's first climate assembly to develop pollution solutions, Crosscut reported.