Having fun eating your reds, oranges, and greens? On to blues and whites!
Blue and Purple
Blue and purple colors in produce are created by the pigment anthocyanin. The darker the color, the greater the amount of pigment present.
Nutrients found in the blue/purple group include:
- Vitamin C.
Blue/purple fruits and vegetables are serious soldiers on the front lines of your body’s defense systems. They keep the immune system in peak condition, actively fighting carcinogens and combating inflammation throughout the body. The blues and purples improve the absorption of calcium and other minerals, keep the blood pressure balanced, and keep the digestive system running smoothly. They may also promote circulatory health by preventing clotting. To top it off, the anthocyanins concentrated in these fruits and vegetables have been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Eager to tap into the powers of the blues and purples? Try some of the purple varieties of this produce:
- Grapes (and raisins).
Can white fruits and vegetables offer any nutritional value? Yes! They receive their unique color from anthoxanthins—pale pigments with antioxidant effects.
Check out some of these nutrients:
- Allicin (a natural chemical that promotes heart health).
- Beta glucans (necessary for white blood cell health).
The whites have surprising amounts of immune-boosting ability. Furthermore, they offer nutrients critical to maintaining a proper balance of hormones throughout the body.
What fruits and vegetables have white varieties? Try some of these:
- Pears (brown-skinned varieties).
Suggestions for Eating Your Colors
Take a look at the color of your current diet. Could it best be described as beige? That probably means you are eating too much processed and packaged food (e.g., crackers). Time to incorporate the rainbow into your diet!
There is no specific formula to follow here. The key word is variety. The idea is to regularly incorporate a mix of colors into your diet, and this can be incredibly simple. One recommendation dieticians sometimes make is to check your grocery cart and make sure you’re buying several categories of produce—if you only have one color represented, swap a few items out with produce of other colors before you make your purchase. Gardeners, notice that each category includes both cool-season and warm-season plants; if you aim for variety in your planting schedule you should be able to harvest a rainbow throughout the season.
Note that to gain the maximum benefit from most of these fruits and vegetables, you should eat the skin whenever possible, as that is where many of the pigments and nutrients are stored. We recommend using this natural veggie wash to remove wax, dirt, and other contaminants first.
What about winter? Never fear! Frozen fruits and vegetables retain much of their color and nutritional value, making frozen produce a viable and very healthy option for those times when you just can’t get it fresh.
Cooking up a balanced blend of vitamins and minerals can be simple! Just enjoy a mix of colors on your plate on a daily basis.
Our own guide to growing, storing, and preparing produce simply.
Need more tips for making the most of fruits and vegetables? Try out some of these real-food-focused cookbooks.