Did you know that the color purple is, by tradition, associated with royalty? For centuries, the color purple was particularly rare and hard to obtain unless you were of royal descent. Purple only became common around the mid-1800s, when a young English chemist created a synthetic purple compound while synthesizing quinine — an anti-malaria drug.

When it comes to the plant kingdom, purple foods may be more common, but they are still majestic. Why? Well, as a rule, the darker a plant is, the more antioxidants it contains. Therefore, fruits and veggies that adorn the royal color are especially rich in free-radicals fighting compounds. Flavonoids and anthocyanins are the main phytochemicals found in the pigments of purple-y colored foods. These antioxidants have a great impact on our health — they protect us from cell damage, keep our immune system strong, and prevent many diseases. That’s only a fraction of what they do, however.

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Want to know more? Here are 5 amazing benefits of consuming purple foods on the regular:

1. Reduce InflammationPurple Dessert Mousse Shooters

Inflammation in the body can take many forms — from digestive issues, diabetes, arthritis, to heart disease, and cancers. Combating all of these health problems is complex but starting at the source — that is, reducing inflammation — is one helpful thing we can all do by eating more vibrant and colorful plant foods. Purple yams, eggplants, red onion, and purple cabbage are examples of purple anti-inflammatory foods you can include in your diet. These vegetables all contain flavonoids and other antioxidant compounds that have been shown to reduce oxidative stress in our bodies — that’s the damage to cells responsible for creating inflammation and diseases.

Want to eliminate inflammation in your body and its potential nasty effects? Try these delicious Purple Sweet Potato Mousse Shooters or this Purple Cauliflower Peanut Coconut Curry. This Mustard Roasted Purple Cauliflower and this Purple Magic Soup will also give you your fill of anti-inflammatory purple foods.

2. Fight CancerCheesy Purple Potato Tart

Antioxidants found in purple foods — flavonoids and anthocyanins — are powerful cancer fighters. Studies show that these compounds not only have a growth-inhibitory effect on various types of cancer cells but that they can also induce morphological changes in cancer cells, promoting apoptosis (death of carcinogenic tumors). Fisetin, a potent type of flavonoid, is currently being considered as a potential chemotherapeutic agent in the treatment of cancer. In short, consuming a wide variety of purple foods in your daily diet will help prevent the apparition of breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer — to name a few.

Ready to reap all the cancer-fighting benefits of your favorite purple foods? Check out These 20 Recipes With Eggplant – The Purple Jewel of Veggies and this Braised Red Cabbage With Apples and Pecans. We also suggest you try this amazing Purple Veggie Borscht and this Cheesy Purple Potato Tart. You won’t regret it!

3. Protect Your HeartRoasted Purple Cabbage 2

Like all plant foods, purple colored fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and nutrient rich, which helps you maintain a healthy weight, thus reducing your risk of getting heart disease. However, antioxidants particular to purple veggies have a special kind of power when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease. Consuming a high amount of anthocyanins, especially, has been shown to improve LDL oxidation, glucose metabolism, lipid peroxidation, and many other cardiovascular risk factors. Flavonoids in general also contribute to lower blood pressure and reduce atherosclerosis.

We suggest you check out how to Bring Out the Best in Cabbage With These 15 Recipes. These Steamed Purple Sweet Potato and Cocoa Rolls, this Roasted Purple Cabbage With Green Goddess Dressing, and this Rosemary Purple Potato Focaccia will also keep your arteries in tip-top shape.

4. Prevent InfectionsPurple Mac and Cheese 1

Do you suffer from frequent UTIs or stomach ulcers? Consuming more purple foods might help you treat these common unpleasant ailments. It turns out that anthocyanins, which are found in cranberries, are also present in all purple fruit and vegetables. This type of antioxidant has been shown to fight and eliminate H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for infections and ulcers. Flavonoids contained in purple foods also have antimicrobial properties that can help you get rid of staph infections.

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Try making this Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi and this Purple Mac and Cheese next time you feel under the weather!

5. Keep Your Brain HealthyUnicorn Noodles

Antioxidants found in purple foods can help you think more sharply and prevent neurodegenerative diseases in old age. How? Well, anthocyanins, the antioxidants found in cabbages, dark berries, and other purplish colored foods, have been shown to increase neuronal signaling in the brain, improve memory functions, and glucose disposal to brain cells — all of which contribute to maintaining a healthy brain and prevent cognitive decline!

Get in the kitchen and make these Unicorn Noodles for a fun experiment that will exercise your brain a little! This Ube Milkshake and these Purple Sweet Potato Biscuits are also good for your brain and your taste buds.

Recommended Resources and Recipes to Get You StartedPurple Sweet Potato Gnocchi 2

Want to find out more about the health benefits of colorful foods and delicious recipes featuring them? Here are a few articles that might interest you:

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If you enjoy articles like this and want to find more healthy and delicious colorful recipes, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App. For those that don’t have it, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to eat healthier, cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and find more awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions.

The Food Monster app has over 8000+ recipes and 500 are free. To access the rest, you have to pay a subscription fee but it’s totally worth it because not only do you get instant access to 8000+ recipes, you get 10 NEW recipes every day! You can also make meal plans, add bookmarks, read feature stories, and browse recipes across hundreds of categories like diet, cuisine, meal type, occasion, ingredient, popular, seasonal, and so much more!

Lead Image Source: Purple Sweet Potato Mousse Shooters