blueberries-690072_640We all know that it’s a good idea to “eat your greens”. But there’s a a reason why natural foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, come in a variety of colours. While red, yellow and green foods are most commonly found on our plates, here’s a list of purple/blue coloured natural foods that contain a host of nutrients and antioxidants that you can try.

Firstly, and most obviously, is the eggplant (aubergine). Purple foods contain anthocyanins which are responsible for their colour, but these pigments also have antioxidant properties. Anthocyanins in the skin of the eggplant help fight cell damage and prevent cancer, and this vegetable is a great source of fibre as well.

Red cabbage is really purple when raw, but appears blue when it’s been cooked. A great addition to salads, red cabbage is lower in calories than it’s green counterpart, higher in vitamin C and thanks to its antioxidants, helps to protect the heart form various ailments.

Turnips contain a phytonutrient called indole, which kills human colon cancer cells according to the International Journal of Oncology, and reduces the risk of lung cancer. They’re also a great standby during the winter when summer vegetables are in short supply.

Other purple vegetables include radishes which are a rich source of fibre, purple carrots (not genetically modified; heirloom varieties of purple-coloured carrots are becoming increasingly popular), purple yams and potatoes, all of which contain higher levels of antioxidants than their conventional white counterparts.

Figs are a good source of potassium, and being rich in dietary fibre means they help keep colon cancers at bay and improve the digestion. The phenols in plums are believed to help combat breast cancers, and being a good source of vitamin C, these fruits help in the absorption of iron.

Blueberries are probably one of the first foods that spring to mind when we think of blue or purple foods. They’re surprisingly rich in calcium which strengthens bones and improves immunity, rich in manganese which helps maintain cholesterol and a good source of dietary fibre too.

Grape skins, and red wine in particular, contain a polyphenolic compound called resveratrol that has anti-inflammatory properties. Laboratory tests have demonstrated that resveratrol might help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer, but only when it is consumed as part of a balanced diet (in other words, don’t seek out supplements containing this compound, as high quantities don’t offer added benefits).

Other purple fruits include prunes, which as one might expect are a great source of fibre, and blackberries, which contain anthocyanins which can help prevent the formation of stomach acids.

So there you have it – thirteen purple fruits and vegetables to choose from that offer a whole host of health benefits if you add them to your diet.