Hello, Health

Purple foods you must gorge on to stay in pink of health

The panacea is here.

 |  Hello, Health  |  4-minute read |   04-04-2016
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Recent headlines have been proclaiming purple bread as the new super food. Now the sound of it (even its pictures) don't really make my mouth water but maybe it's worth trying out as according to its creator the Singapore-based researcher Zhou Weibiao, it is loaded with super antioxidant anthocyanin.

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Zhou and his team worked for a year to come up with this recently unveiled anomaly by fusing black rice with white bread, and they say that it delivers besides higher satiety owing to its higher fibre content and lower glycemic index (digests 20 per cent slower than regular white bread), protection against disorders (thanks to the antioxidant anthocyanin from black rice) too.

Now as it is not available commercially yet, I can't comment on its taste and texture but what I can do meanwhile is to give a little gyan on anthocyanin, the super antioxidant to tell you how it helps and also the best ways to score it naturally (till you get your hands on the purple bread and purple whatever else the scientists come up with next).

It's a panacea, literally!

There are proven potential health benefits of this compound against cancer, ageing, inflammation, and neurological diseases. Enough research shows that these flavonoids provide armour against memory loss and Alzheimer's disease. They not only slow brain decline, but can actually reverse it and improve memory.

Several studies have also found an association between the consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods and cardio vascular disease protection. Simply put, they are heart protective.

Plus they are effective cancer slayers and help lower blood glucose by improving insulin resistance. They lower the inflammation levels in the body too. Inflammation by the way, is what leads to most of the modern-day lifestyle disorders, so ensuring enough anthocyanin in our diet in fact is an effective antidote for most modern day ills and to delay ageing.

Get them in

By the way it was the discovery of anthocyanin that propelled blueberries back into business. But obviously as blueberries aren't that easily accessible (and pocket friendly), we must find other ways to score these disease fighting compounds. And the good news is that there are plenty such (sources). Read on some of the names might surprise you.

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Wine… yes it is a good source of anthocyanin. The happiest, most coveted source of good health.

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And if you don't drink (and even if you do), know that grapes too contain this same disease-fighting phytonutrient. Purple grapes are most concentrated.

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If you have been skipping eggplants (also called brinjal and aubergine) just because you don't like its taste, then it's time to learn to love them as they are loaded with anthocyanin. And please don't toss the skin; it is full of fibre, potassium and magnesium and, yes anthocyanins.

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And talking about the peels while most of us thankfully don't peel grapes and blueberries, it is now time to stop discarding the guava peels too. These blue/green peels contain more antioxidants (such as anthocyanin pigments) than the pulp or flesh.

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Beets are next in the list. They are delicious, nutritious and low in calories (200gm provides only 85 calories). Plus they are loaded with fibre - almost 6gm per 200gm. And the best news: their deep red colour gives away the fact that they are loaded with anthocyanin too.

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So what is black rice is out of reach, Kerala Red rice is loaded with antioxidants too, and it is easily available.

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And of course, my pick of the berries: the fruity heart-shaped valentine - strawberries. The anthocyanins in strawberry are what provide its flush red colour.

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One of my favourite ways of enjoying the benefits of anthocyanins is with a fruit smoothie that incorporates frozen or fresh berries, and juice of another loaded source - pomegranate; it's a glass full of tasty, concentrated fruit anthocyanins.

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Finally, if you need more even options choose from, here you go: plums, red onions, cherries, purple cabbage and sweet potato.

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Writer

Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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