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

In the search for optimal nutrition, we are told to try to “eat the rainbow.”

This means stocking your plate with a wide range of fruits and vegetables representing the shades of the rainbow. The more vividly vibrant and colorful the produce, the more likely that diet is full of vitamins, minerals and health-promoting plant compounds.

In particular, blue and purple fruits and vegetables should be included whenever possible.

These lovely produce, although less common than the orange, red or yellow produce, are also loaded with nutritional qualities, being good sources of anthocyanins, which take care of antioxidant compounds that can help support brain function, yes improve heart health and help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.

Here are seven super-delicious blue fruits and vegetables along with tips on how to incorporate them into your diet:

Elderberry fruits

Why eat them: Evidence suggests that compounds in elderberry may support healthy immune cells and help fight cold and flu viruses. Concentrated extracts of elderberry may help fight the flu, although this is still being researched.

How to eat them: Elderberries can be consumed whole, as juice, syrup or extract. If you eat the whole berry, be sure to cook it first – raw and unripe elderberries can cause stomach upset.

Blueberries

Blueberries

Why eat them: This well-studied fruit is packed with fiber, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin K and is low in calories. Blueberries are full of anthocyanins, and eating them regularly has been linked to helping prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and cognitive decline conditions like Alzheimer’s.

How to eat them: Blueberries can be eaten raw, added to cereal, yogurt or muesli, or baked into bread.

Concord grapes

Concord grapes

Why eat them: Concord grapes have higher amounts of antioxidant compounds than purple, red or green grapes. They are full of antioxidants that can help support the immune system.

How to eat them: Concord grapes can be eaten raw or made into wine, juice or jam.

Black currant

Black currant.

Why eat them: Diets rich in vitamin C may help protect against damage at the cellular level and against chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease. Currants are an excellent source of vitamin C, which has significant antioxidant properties. Vitamin C also aids wound healing, plays a role in supporting the immune system, and helps maintain bones, teeth, and skin.

How to eat them: Currants can be eaten fresh as dried fruit or preserved in jams or juice.

Blue tomatoes

Blue tomatoes.

Why eat them: Also known as purple or indigo pink tomatoes, blue tomatoes are high in anthocyanin, which gives them their bluish-purple color. Diets rich in anthocyanins may help reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease, and may help maintain eye and brain health. Blue tomatoes also contain antioxidants such as lycopene, which has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and prostate cancer.

How to eat them: Add sliced ​​blue tomatoes to sandwiches and burgers, wedged into appetizer salads or diced to salsa or pico de gallo.

Purple carrots

Purple carrots.

Why eat them: All carrots are a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese. Purple carrots are a good source of anthocyanins, antioxidants that can help fight inflammation. Diets high in antioxidants and anthocyanins can 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 purple carrots raw or add to soup or stir-fry.

Blue corn

Blue corn.

Why eat them: Blue corn contains anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that may help maintain health benefits. Blue corn may be higher in protein and lower on the glycemic index than yellow corn. Research from animal studies suggests that blue corn may also help improve memory and may have a beneficial effect on high-density lipoprotein – the good – cholesterol and help reduce more harmful fats such as total cholesterol and serum triglycerides.

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

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

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