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Go on, Have a Purple Carrot!

Filed Under: Health Foods at 9:39 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
CarrotsCarrots are orange; corn is yellow. Those are two of the vegetable-color combinations I grew up knowing with confidence. If the orange was slightly less orange, the carrot wasn’t coming near me. If the corn was not a shade of yellow I recognized, it was decoration, or it was largely ignored. I did not believe in color variation. It was bad enough I had to eat these things; my stubborn mind wasn’t going to acknowledge any type of change. So then, why am I suddenly telling you to have a purple carrot? It’s certainly not that I have matured into a more accepting consumer. Call me crazy, but I like my carrots orange. It’s simply that I cannot ignore the facts, and the truth is the dark-colored, red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables are really, very good for you.

Fruits and vegetables with a deep hue, such as purple corn, purple/black carrots, red grapes, bilberries, chokeberries, radishes and elderberries, are colored by the chemical compound anthocyanin. Recently, researchers have begun examining the medical benefits of this compound, and what they have found is very encouraging.  When extracted from different fruits and vegetables, anthocyanin was applied to colon cancer cells and proved to reduce growth. Of course, the amount of reduction varied with the produce. Purple corn was the most potent, followed by chokeberries and bilberries. Radishes, on the other hand, required the highest amount of extract in order to be effective. However despite their low ranking, radishes do make a significant difference. Other studies have shown that radishes and black carrots can lessen cancer growth anywhere in the body, and purple corn and chokeberries not only stop growth but kill some of the cells as well. Clearly this group of food is packing a powerful punch.

Now this doesn’t mean that you should begin shunning all of those beautiful yellows, oranges and greens. They still have a bundle of nutrients and compounds that will make your life healthier. What you should do is be open to other colors. Corn doesn’t HAVE to be yellow. It can be purple. Just make sure it’s supposed to be that shade before you bite into it. And if you can’t get past the color, try a supplement. We’ve got purple corn, bilberries and all sorts of different products that are chock full of anthocyanin. They’ll help keep you healthy, without distressing your inner kindergartener.

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