Purple Foods: Superfoods for kids and parents.
A little bit can go a long way in maintaining your child’s health. I personally have been struggling with some health challenges (all will be well in time). Last week my doctor, Dr. Tiffany Lester of Parsley Health, reminded me to increase my intake of purple foods to support my health. So with this homework assignment, the entire family is benefiting from my purple food goals. While I’ve long known of the health benefits of purple foods…I decided to spend a few hours combing the National Institute of Health database to find research papers that breakdown the super powers of purple foods for all of you.
What gives these purple foods their superfood power?
Purple foods get their magic from the flavonoids called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give fruits and vegetables their vivid red, purple and blue colors (1).
Why are purple foods are good for you?
- They are heart healthy. Purple foods provide cardiovascular disease protection by reducing oxidative stress (2).
- It is a brain food. Purple foods enhance memory, and prevent age-related declines in the body’s ability to pass critical information through the nerve cells (2).
- Purple foods provide disease prevention. These foods are capable of reducing inflammation (an underlying basis for a significant number of common diseases) (1,3).
- They play a role in cancer prevention (1,4).
- Purple foods support healthy weight management, by providing protection against obesity and type-2 daibetes (1,4).
Purple superfoods worth adding to the rotation:
Fun ways to incorporate purple into your child’s routine:
- Take a field trip to the farmers market or grocery store. Encourage your children to help you find a few purple fruits and vegetables. Challenge your children to find purple foods they are willing to help you create and try at mealtime.
- Use your purple foods from your field trip or print pictures of important purple vegetables and fruits. Attempt to recreate the images by drawing pictures of these foods with your child.
- Google, “coloring pages” for a specific vegetable or fruit and have fun coloring or painting them purple.
- Invite your kids in the kitchen to peal, chop, or wash your purple fruits and vegetables.
- Read books like this and this, that show pictures of a range of colorful vegetables and fruit.
(1) He, J. Giusti, M.M. (2010). Anthocyanins: natural colorants with health promoting properties. Annual Review of Food and Science Technology. 1, 163-187.
(2) Lila, M.A. (2004). Anthocyanins and Human Health: An In Vitro Investigative Approach. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. 5, 306-313.
(3) Edwards, T. (2005). Inflammation, Pain, and Chronic Disease: An integrative approach to treatment and prevention. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 11(6), 20-27.
(4) Wallace, T.C, Giusti, M.M. Anthocyanin’s in Health and Disease. CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group, 2014. Print
(5) Ha, T.J., Lee, M, Park, C., Pae, S., Shim, K., Ko, J., Shin, S., Baek, I., Park, K., (2010) Identification and Characterization of Anthocyanins in Yard-Long Beans (Vigna unguiculata ssp. sesquipedalis L.) by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography with Diode Array Detection and Electrospray Ionization/Mass Spectrometry (HPLC−DAD−ESI/MS) Analysis. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. 58(4), 2571-2576.
(6) Chiu, L.W., Zhou, X., Burke, S., Wu, X., Prior, R.L., Li, L. (2010). The purple cauliflower arises from activation of a MYB transcription factor. Plant Physiology. 154(3), 1470-1480.