They say a colourful plate is a healthy one. From leafy greens to a palette of peppers, there’s nothing quite like that feel-good rush of a wholesome meal.
But what about purple food? Violet and indigo aren’t usually the first colours that pop into our heads when we think about summer dishes, but injecting a little purple into your diet could work wonders for your health.
The secret ingredient
We’re not talking about lollipops, of course – we mean real, fresh vegetables! In particular, purple cauliflower has been proven to have many health-boosting properties. You may have come across purple cauliflower before, but there are actually subtle differences in the vegetable.
Strictly speaking, only Italian-sourced cauliflowers can be classed as a “true” cauliflower. The variety we have in Britain is technically a broccoli with hundreds of tiny flower buds, but to all intents and purposes, it has the same appearance and health benefits as the traditional vegetable.
The cauliflowers get their purple colour from a natural ingredient called anthocyanin. This is a natural blood sugar regulator and can help you to control your weight, prevent diabetes, and look after your brain and eyes.
In addition to this, anthocyanin can help to reduce cancer risk. These disease-fighting properties are also found in other ingredients in purple cauliflowers. Namely, these purple veg contain glucoraphanin, which breaks down into sulforaphane when chewed. This produces an enzyme called myrosinase, which helps to look after the good bacteria in our large intestines – just like our daily collagen chews!
Equally, the sulforaphane helps to prevent the production of the histone deacetylase enzyme, which in turn helps to protect us from the big C.
Where to find your purple power
Thankfully, the benefits of anthocyanin go beyond just cauliflowers. Any fruit or vegetable which is a deep red, blue or purple in colour will likely contain this friendly antioxidant. You’ll find anthocyanins in blueberries, blackberries and blackcurrants, aubergines, cranberries and cherries. If you’re looking for something a little more obscure to treat your dinner guests, try purple sweet potato!
Add anthocyanins to your natural daily routine
We’re big believers in getting as many of these bright colours into your diet as possible! Why not ease yourself in with our blackcurrant burst chews, which also contain vitamin C and natural digestive aids – just like your new favourite vegetable.
Blueberries are great for snacking on at your desk, or topping on yoghurts and mixing into smoothies. Alternatively, if you’re looking to cut down on meat consumption, aubergine is an unexpected great replacement for bacon, or even pasta sheets!
Go indigo with this purple cauliflower and fennel ginger soup recipe
You will need:
- 2 cauliflower heads, chopped into florets
- 1 thinly sliced fennel bulb
- 2 inches of ginger, finely cut
- 1 litre of water
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- Cooking oil of your choice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional 1 tsp fennel pollen, plus optional garnish or sliced radish or pine nuts
What to do:
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven) or gas mark 6. Drizzle oil onto a baking tray and sprinkle over cauliflower with salt and pepper. Roast for around 25 minutes until the cauliflower turns a light golden brown.
Next, heat 1tbsp oil in a pot over a medium temperature, and add the ginger. Keep stirring until it becomes soft. Then add the roasted cauliflower, fennel, water, bay leaves, chilli powder, and extra seasoning. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes.
Finish in a high-speed blender until smooth. Add the optional fennel pollen if desired, and serve in bowls with your chosen garnishes. Grab a spoon and enjoy!