Color it purple, red, green to keep foods fresh and clean

Published Jul 30, 2017 at 9:00am

Put “clean eating” on your wellness radar today.

Clean eating is all about choosing foods that are natural and wholesome — particularly foods that are free of chemicals, additives and preservatives, and refined, processed ingredients.

This eating style has some distinct advantages, including maintaining a healthy weight and better blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

If you eat a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods in their natural state, you’re reaping the rewards of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean meats rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

Fruits and vegetables that feature a violet hue are loaded with antioxidants that studies show can improve cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Purple produce is packed with beneficial nutrients and compounds, but this rare food color isn’t limited to blueberries and grapes. A wide range of beautiful purple fruits and vegetables, some newly bred and some heirloom, are making a colorful appearance. 

The rich, royal color that makes purple produce stand out in the marketplace also makes it a nutritional standout. The purple hue is a result of anthocyanin, phytochemicals that are part of the flavonoid family. The name comes from the Greek words for the flower (Anthos) and blue (kaons).

If there are no sugar molecules, it’s called an anthocyanin. These powerful antioxidants could potentially lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. They have been shown to lower cholesterol levels and reduce blood clotting. Other than blueberries, try the blackberries that are a top anthocyanin source as well as being packed with other nutrients.

Purple is not limited to fruits, vegetables like eggplant, purple onions, and red cabbage are excellent ways to add purple to your plate.

Along with the typical fruits and vegetables, produce like purple corn, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts, are showing up. 

All summer long we see bright colored fruits and vegetables but one that stands out the most is the red more commonly a bright red tomato. The tomatoes nutrient content is more similar to a vegetable than a fruit, as it contains significantly fewer calories and less sugar than other fruits.

Tomatoes an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of potassium they contain carotenoids alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene. Because lycopene is fat-soluble, it is best to eat tomatoes with a fat source, such as olive oil or avocado, to increase its absorption. Cooking tomatoes before eating them also helps the body absorb lycopene. 

When shopping for green, the avocado is often overlooked. At the time of purchase it may be green, but when ripe to eat it looks black.

The avocado has been shunned until recently due to its high fat and calorie content, but good thing its reputation is on the upswing.

The benefits of eating avocado are great. Not only is the fat monounsaturated and good for you, it is also a good food to help with diseases like macular degeneration. If you don’t like avocado plain, try it as guacamole or even as a mayonnaise replacement on burgers and sandwiches. 

This summer try getting your greens in new ways with this easy recipe.

Fabulous Eggplant:

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch rings, unpeeled 

1/2 tsp salt 

Vegetable or olive oil as needed 

1 1/2 cups plain pasta sauce 

1 tablespoon tomato paste 

4 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped 

1 tsp distilled white vinegar 

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Salt eggplant rings lightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Pat each slice dry. 

Heat on oil in pan and fry eggplant until golden brown. Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. 

In a pot, mix pasta sauce, tomato paste, garlic, and vinegar. Simmer until thickened.

Dip eggplant slices in sauce and plate. Garnish with chopped parsley and grated cheese (optional) 

Enjoy the rest of summer.