The Power of Purple Foods

Contributed by Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LDN

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When we think of healthy eating, we tend to think of eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. And while we remember to include colors like green, red, and yellow on our plates, there is one color that we often forget about: purple. In fact, only 3% of the produce we consume is purple or blue, yet diets high in purple and blue fruits and veggies are linked with being higher in key nutrients and lower in added sugar. So it’s time to pump up the purple, don’t you think?

Purple fruits and veggies provide plant nutrients called polyphenols, including a type called anthocyanins, which not only give them their royal color, but, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, also promote heart health. These plant nutrients are not found in many of the other colors of fruits and veggies, so it is important to make sure purple is a part of our dietary color scheme. And get this, the darker the purple color of berries and other produce, the more polyphenols you’ll likely find!

One of the darkest purple-colored berries of all is the Concord grape (yes, grapes are berries too!). Did you know that many of the same polyphenols that are found in red wine are also found in Concord grapes? It’s no wonder that more than a decade’s worth of research suggests that drinking 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes can help support a healthy heart. As a complement to whole fruit and in moderation, Welch’s 100% Grape Juice is one easy way to pump up the purple in your diet.  Each 4 oz. glass of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice is made with more than 20 Concord grapes and counts as 1 serving (1/2 cup) of fruit, with no added sugar, color or flavor!

In addition to drinking 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes, some of my favorite ways to pump up the purple in my diet to reap the health benefits of polyphenols include:

  • Can't-Get-Enough-of-it Cabbage: If you think you aren't a cabbage fan, think again! This recipe for braised purple cabbage with balsamic vinegar and honey creates a flavor explosion that will have the whole family asking for seconds!
  • PB&F: Jelly is one way, but not the only way to make a peanut butter sandwich shine! Using sliced whole grapes along with peanut butter between two slices of whole wheat bread creates a flavorful, fiber-rich sammie that has a great texture too!
  • Eggplant Everything: Whether your family’s favorite comfort food is lasagna, burgers, or even a dip, eggplant is a purple-perfect substitute!
  • Juice on the Loose: You don’t just have to drink 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes to enjoy its delicious taste and benefits! Try using the juice to create salad dressings, marinades, and sauces that will take any dish from ordinary to outstanding!

What is your favorite way to pump up the purple in your diet?

*The links in this blog post are third-party sources that are not affiliated with, endorsed, or controlled by Welch’s. They are being referenced for informational purposes only, and Welch’s takes no responsibility for their content.