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

In our quest for optimal nutrition, we’ve all been instructed (over and over again) to try to “eat the rainbow.” For those who may not be familiar with this phrase, this suggestion means that you should stock your plate with a wide range of fruits and vegetables representing the different shades of the rainbow. The more imaginative the palate is to include brightly vibrant and diverse colorful produce, the more likely that diet is also full of vitamins, minerals and health-promoting plant compounds.

In particular, blue (and purple) fruits and vegetables should be included whenever possible. These wonderful products, although less common than the orange, red or yellow products, are also packed with nutritional qualities. 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 certain cancers).

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

Elderberry fruits

Features: Elderberries are small bluish-purple berries.

Why they should be eaten: Elderberry is one of the most popular herbal compounds in the world. Evidence suggests that plant compounds in elderberry may support healthy immune cells and help fight cold and flu viruses. Concentrated elderberry extracts may help fight the flu virus, although this is still being researched.

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

Blueberries

Blueberries

Features: Blueberries are small blue to purple berries.

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

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

Concord grapes

Concord grapes

Features: The Concord grape is a dark blue-purple grape.

Why they should be eaten: Concord grapes have higher amounts of antioxidant compounds than purple, red or green grapes. •Concord grapes are full of antioxidants that can help support the immune system.

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

Black currant

Black currant.

Features: Currant is a tart fruit and comes in a deep, bluish purple.

Why they should be eaten: Diets rich in vitamin C can help protect the body against damage at the cellular level and against chronic disease (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 (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 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, linked to 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 a salad starter, 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 vitamins A and C, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, and more. Purple carrots are a good source of anthocyanins (antioxidants that can help fight inflammation). Diets high 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 purple carrots raw — slice or grate them and add to a salad or sandwich — or add 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, 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 shows that blue corn may also contribute to improved memory (long and short term) and may have a beneficial effect on high-density lipoprotein (‘good’) cholesterol and help to reduce the more harmful ones. lipids 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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