Saturday, 27 December 2014

Purple is the New Green

Have you heard yet? Purple is the new green!

Okay, if you're going, 'Wait. What?', or, 'I don't like either of those colours - when were they ever in?', or perhaps, 'is that, like, a really bad spin off?' , then, hear me out.

I'm not talking about fashion. Or Netflix.

I'm talking about food.

Of course!
Green has taken the health food world by storm. Green is sexy. The whole world is in love with leafy greens and green juices and green salads, green anything, (especially if it has kale in it. Hell yeah, kale!)

But, it's easy to get swept up the green-fever and forget about the whole spectrum of plant foods out there. I adore greens; I simply can't eat enough of them!

But, something new, something brilliant has come to my attention:

Purple fruits and vegetables.

These beauties of the vegetable world owe their health benefits to anthocyanins, the powerful flavonoids that give these gems their dark, intense colour.

Anthocyanins are have a supreme ability to reduce oxidative damage to our cells (thus reducing ageing and disease). In one study, anthocyanins were demonstrated to have the strongest antioxidant power out of 150 flavonoids!

Need some proof? In Dr. Greger's Superfood Bargains, purple cabbage, the ruby of the cabbage world, was shown to have the hughest anti-oxidant power out of a range of superfoods tested - plus, they were the cheapest!

Also, take a look at how purple pigments transforms the nutritional profile of potatoes here: Nutrition Facts: The Healthiest Potato, and, get the low-down on the science of anthocyanins with Talia Fuhrman: Rock Your Anthocyanins in Your Diet (simply gorgeous).

So, why should we be concerned about eating an abundance of antioxidants in our diet?

Dr, Greger explains it in this concise article (Nutrition Facts: Add Beans, Berries and Greens to More Meals):
"After we eat, our bodies create free radicals in the process of breaking down our food. That’s why we need to eat antioxidant-rich foods with every meal to counteract this oxidation caused by metabolism (...)  If we don’t consume high-antioxidant plants with breakfast, by lunch we’ll already be in oxidative debt. Let’s say we ate a standard American breakfast at 6 a.m. If we didn’t eat that cup of strawberries with breakfast, by the time lunch rolls around we’d already be starting out in the hyper-oxidized state, and lunch could just make things worse. Since western eating patterns include eating multiple meals a day, including snacks, one can only speculate on the level of biological unrest (...)  Over time, however, these daily insults can lead to problems such as heart disease, contributing to the hundreds of thousands of deaths a year."
Oxidation causes disease and premature ageing, and, if you live by a standard Western diet, you are pretty much in oxidative stress for most of the time. No wonder we're getting sick and look like crap.

So how can we counter act this?

By eating delicious, nutritious anti-oxidant rich plant food!

And, which plants contain antioxidants that are extremely potent at fighting this disease and ageing causing oxidative-stress....

Purple ones! Blueberries. Purple cabbage. Aubergine. Red kale. Purple broccoli... you can get these in your local supermarket, cheaply, easily, fresh, frozen... fabulous.
Whole plant foods are far more powerful than their individual chemical components. We shouldn't simply isolate and focus; BUT, in this age of abundance and choice of healthy foods, and with the power of scientific knowledge, we can make concious, well informed decisions about what we put into our bodies - to our power and immense benefit.

Ultimately, cut out the sugar laden, refined, processed foods and animal products, and eat whole plant foods, and you'll really put oxidative stress in it's place...

...keep it up and through the slow, long process of time,  your heavy smoking, soda drinking, dairy eating friends won't be able to keep up with your fresh, healthy, youthful glow (or healthful body).

It's not the Fountain of Youth, it's the Garden of Youth, you see.

(Need a bit more convincing about the magical anti-ageing properties of plants? Check out: Nutrition Facts: The Anti-Wrinkle Diet. Spoiler alert: plants are anti-ageing due to antioxidant properties, processed foods and animal products are not...)

There's an incredible array of plant foods out there. A whole rainbow. I like to picture it on a bed of green, with earthy, muted tones ranging to incredible violently violet hues. They're all good. They're all powerful. Fresh, picked straight from the earth, these fruits and nuts and leaves are  more valuable than the rarest, most precious stones. Diamonds and sapphires may be beautiful, but plants keep us well; they keep our bodies happy and healthy, our skin glowing, our minds alert.

But, just remember, a little purple now and then, and you can really step up your antioxidant game.

So, eat your greens.

And eat your purples, too.

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