When is the last time you ate something purple?

Whether it was an aronia purple, a blueberry purple, or even an eggplant purple – have you been making the most of your color palate lately?

If not, here are just a few reasons why you should.

Eat purple to keep your heart healthy

Heart disease is when blood vessels in the heart are blocked or narrowed which prevents proper blood flow through them. This can lead to chest pain, heart attack, stroke, and even death if left untreated or unmanaged.

The anthocyanins found in purple foods help improve circulation and reduce LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol). Aronia berry has been shown to increase flow mediated dilatation of blood vessels and nitric oxide production. Keeping blood vessels more pliable. (1,2)

Eat purple to keep your brain healthy

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that can happen when plaque builds up in the brain and restricts important mental functions such as memory, thinking, and behavior.

In a comprehensive meta-analysis recently published titled, Effects of Berry Anthocyanins on Cognitive Performance, Vascular Function and Cardiometabolic Risk Markers: A Systematic Review of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Intervention Studies, there was conclusive evidence for the beneficial effects of berry anthocyanins on cognitive performance. (3)

Eat purple to fight against diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin (type 1) or becomes insulin-resistant and unable to use it properly (type 2). This can lead to increased sugar levels in the blood that cause damage over time.

A recent study published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that anthocyanins in Aronia berry acted to defend pancreatic β-cells against hydrogen peroxide and high glucose-induced toxicity. Even though this was a laboratory in vitro study, physiologically achievable concentrations of Aronia anthocyanins were used. The authors concluded that this supported the use of anthocyanins as a preventive treatment for diabetes. (4)

Eat purple to fight inflammation

Chronic inflammation is when your body’s immune system can’t stop causing damage to healthy cells. The magnitude of chronic inflammation cannot be overemphasized. It is now recognized that chronic inflammation is the most significant cause of death in the world today, with more than 50% of all deaths being attributable to inflammation-related diseases such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Numerous studies have found that anthocyanins are powerful anti-inflammatory agents.

Eat purple to keep your vision healthy

The macula of the eye sits right behind the middle of your retina. It’s responsible for much of your sharp central vision. The macula needs the dark pigments found in foods such as anthocyanins and carotenoids as we cannot manufacture them in our bodies. These pigments act as filters that absorb light to protect the retina from oxidative damage.

With such a wealth of evidence for the health advantages of adding more anthocyanins to your diet, again the question is – when was the last time you ate something purple?

  1. Istas G, et al. Effects of aronia berry (poly)phenols on vascular function and gut microbiota: a double-blind randomized controlled trial in adult men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 110, Issue 2, August 2019, Pages 316–329.
  2. Varela CE, Fromentin E, Roller M, Villarreal F, Ramirez-Sanchez I. Effects of a natural extract of Aronia Melanocarpa berry on endothelial cell nitric oxide production. J Food Biochem. 2016 Aug; 40(4):404-410.
  3. Sanne Ahles, Peter J Joris, Jogchum Plat. Effects of Berry Anthocyanins on Cognitive Performance, Vascular Function and Cardiometabolic Risk Markers: A Systematic Review of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Intervention Studies in Humans. Mol Sci. 2021 Jun 17;22(12):6482.
  4. Dumitriţa Rugină, et al. Chokeberry Anthocyanin Extract as Pancreatic β-Cell Protectors in Two Models of Induced Oxidative Stress. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015; 2015: 429075.

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