The Color Purple: Fashionable Food

The Color Purple: Fashionable Food

Food & Drink

The Color Purple: Fashionable Food


Purple used to be the color favored by ladies who had reached an age that entitled them to wear whatever color they felt like wearing—even a flamboyant color such as purple. Then it gained broader acceptance, with some fashion opinion leaders even anointing it as “the new black.”

Now it’s become one of the most fashionable colors in food.

At farmers markets and on restaurant menus, we’re now seeing an ever-widening range of heirloom and specialty vegetables with that distinctive purple hue—purple potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beans, corn, asparagus, and cauliflower, among others.

Well-known chef Rick Tramonto is a big fan. “I love the color and texture; there is more earth to it,” he told Janet Helm, in a story for the Chicago Tribune.

Perhaps most importantly, the deep purple color in fruits and veggies also signifies potent nutrition. The pigments responsible for the color are called anthocyanins, a type of phytonutrient valued for its disease-fighting benefits. There is also new evidence that the purple pigments may help protect our brain as we grow older.

A neuroscientist at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging said recently that there is now more promising data on purple than any other color. Another study by researchers at Ohio State University found that anthocyanins from purple corn were the most potent in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells, compared to other vegetables and fruits they tested.

Powerful purple potato on sale in the UK

A purple potato that growers claim is healthier than the standard variety has just gone on sale in UK supermarkets. The Purple Majesty has a distinctive deep color and contains up to 10 times the level of antioxidant, anthocyanins, compared with white potatoes. It was developed at Colorado State University from a traditional variety.

It seems, when it comes to the color purple, it looks as good in you as it does on you—no matter what your age.

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