The Rainbow Diet: Royal Purple for Maximum Antioxidant Power
Photo Credit: Lianne Phillipson-Webb
Purple is a regal colour that oozes healthiness and boasts a rich antioxidant power. Both purple fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients and support every facet of health. (Scroll down for the recipe for the gorgeous purple cabbage stir-fry featured in the photo)
They offer lutein, zeaxanthin, potent antioxidant—resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and anti-inflammatory quercetin. These are important for good eye healthy, low cholesterol levels, boost the immune system, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, reduce inflammation and tumor growth, and help limit the activity of cancer cells. Purple really is a powerhouse.
Some of my favourite purple foods include:
Vegetables: Purple potatoes, purple cabbage, purple carrots, figs, purple grapes, purple peppers, eggplant, purple kale, purple cauliflower, and purple top turnip.
Fruit: Black currants, blackberry, blueberry, dried plums, eggplant, grapes, plums, pomegranates, prunes, figs, purple grapes, and raisins.
Extras: Wild rice, black rice, and kalamata olives.
Specific nutrients to also highlight are indoles that come from cruciferous vegetables—purple cabbage and cauliflower. They are known to slow down the metabolism of carcinogens. Anthocyanins found in cabbage, eggplant, grapes and berries improve brain function and may reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
The recipe below is a fun way to use purple cabbage, as it may not be at the top of your weekly shopping list. I’ve used soba or buckwheat noodles here, but you could certainly use wild or black rice instead. Soba noodles found in stores may contain wheat and other grains, so try out different ones to discover your favourite. In my house, our pick is buckwheat and sweet potato flour soba noodles; my daughters love their slight sweetness.
Purple Cabbage Stir Fry
1 tbsp olive oil
2/3 package soba noodles
1 garlic clove, minced
1 scallion or small onion, diced
10 shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/4 purple cabbage, cut into strips (about 2 cups)
1 cm fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 - 2 purple kale leaves, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
Handful of broken cashews
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add soba noodles and turn down to a simmer. Cook according to instructions (about 3 - 4 minutes) Drain, rinse and drizzle with olive or sesame oil.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add shallots. Cook over medium heat until transparent. Add garlic and ginger and stir. After 3 minutes add mushrooms and cabbage and cook for 5 - 7 minutes, adding 1/4 cup of water if cabbage sticks to the bottom of your pan. Once cabbage is soft, add kale and soy sauce and stir until kale wilts. Remove from heat.
Share noodles among bowls and top with vegetables. Sprinkle with cashews and serve.
What purple power will you add to your diet today?
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