Senior Health Blue Foods That Will Boost Your Health￼ 11/1/2022 | By Kristen N. Smith Aside from delicious taste and beautiful hues, blue foods offer a wide array of health benefits. Blue fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense, providing powerful antioxidants, including vitamin C and beneficial plant compounds. In the quest for optimal nutrition, we’ve all been instructed (time and time again) to try and eat the rainbow. For those that might be unfamiliar with this phrase, this suggestion means that you should stock your plate with a wide range of fruits and vegetables representing the various hues found in the rainbow. The greater the inclusivity of one’s palate to include brightly vibrant and diversely colorful produce, the more likely it is that this diet is also filled to the brim with vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting plant compounds. In particular, blue (and purple) fruits and vegetables should be included whenever possible. These blue foods, although less common than orange, red, or yellow produce, are also stocked with nutritional goodness. Blue foods are good sources of anthocyanins (antioxidant compounds that may help support brain function, improve heart health, and help decrease the risk of elevated blood pressure and certain types of cancer). Here are seven powerfully delicious blue fruits and vegetables along with tips to include these blue foods into your diet. Elderberries Characteristics: Elderberries are small bluish-purple berries.Why they should be eaten: Elderberries are one of the most popular plant compounds in the world. Evidence suggests that plant compounds in elderberries may support healthy immune cells and help battle cold and flu viruses. Concentrated elderberry extracts may help fight the flu virus, though this is still under investigation.How to eat them:Elderberries can be eaten whole, as a juice, syrup or extract. Note: if eating the whole berry, be sure to cook them first – raw (and unripe) elderberries may cause an upset stomach. Blueberries Characteristics: Blueberries are small blue to purple berries.Why they should be eaten: This well-studied fruit is full of fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin K and is low in calories. Blueberries are stocked in anthocyanins, and regular intake of blueberries has been shown to help prevent heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and conditions of cognitive decline (such as Alzheimer’s disease).How to eat them: Blueberries can be eaten raw, added to cereal, yogurt or granola, or baked into breads and more. Concord Grapes Characteristics: Concord grapes are dark blue-purple grapes.Why they should be eaten: Concord grapes have higher amounts of antioxidant compounds than purple, red or green grapes. -Concord grapes are full of antioxidants that may help support the immune system.How to eat them: Concord grapes can be eaten raw (fresh) or they may be made into wine, juice, or jam (the latter methods should be used less frequently). Black Currants Characteristics: Black currants are tart berries and come in a deep, bluish-purple.Why they should be eaten: Diets rich in vitamin C may help protect the body against damage on the cellular level and against chronic disease (including cardiovascular disease). Black currants are an excellent source of vitamin C, which has significant antioxidant properties. Vitamin C also supports wound healing, plays a role in the support of the immune system and helps maintain bones, teeth and skin.How to eat them: Black currants can be eaten fresh, as dried fruit, or preserved in jams or juice (though these methods should be used more sparingly). Blue Tomatoes Characteristics: Blue tomatoes are also known as purple or Indigo Rose tomatoes.Why they should be eaten: Blue tomatoes are high in anthocyanin, which gives off their bluish-purple color. Diets rich in anthocyanins may help reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease, and may help support eye health and brain health. Blue tomatoes also contain antioxidants, like lycopene, associated with lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and prostate cancer.How to eat them: Add sliced blue tomatoes to sandwiches and burgers, in wedge shapes in entree salads, or diced as a component of fresh salsa or pico de gallo. Related: Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe Purple Carrots Characteristics: Purple carrots are sometimes known as indigo carrots.Why they should be eaten: All carrots are a good source of vitamin A and C, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, and more. Purple carrots are a good source of anthocyanins (antioxidants that may help fight inflammation). Diets high in antioxidants and anthocyanins help fight against oxidative stress (an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants) and oxidative stress has been linked with cancer, heart disease, premature aging, and cognitive decline.How to eat them: Enjoy purple carrots raw – slice or shred them and add to a salad or sandwich – or add to your next soup or stir fry. Blue Corn Characteristics: Blue corn may vary in color (from light gray to dark purple).Why they should be eaten: Blue corn contains anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that can help support health benefits. Blue corn may have a higher protein content and lower glycemic index compared to yellow corn. Research from animal studies suggests that blue corn may also contribute to improvements in memory (long- and short-term) and may beneficially influence high density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol and help support the reduction of more harmful lipids such as total cholesterol and serum triglycerides.How to eat them: Cooked blue corn can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, salsas and salads. Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning independent newsletter written by nutrition experts dedicated to providing readers up-to-date, accurate information about health and nutrition in clear, concise English. For more information, visit www.environmentalnutrition.com © 2022 Belvoir Media Group, LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Read More Kristen N. Smith Kristen N. Smith, PhD, RDN, LD, has been the Executive Editor of Environmental Nutrition since 2018. As a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Kristen is experienced in the areas of weight management, health promotion, and eating disorder prevention and treatment. She holds a BS in Dietetics from the University of Kentucky, a PhD in Nutrition Science from the University of Minnesota and is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. She has written for peer-reviewed scientific journals, research-focused blogs, and various newsletters. She is also the co-author of The High Protein Vegetarian Cookbook: Hearty Dishes Even Carnivores Will Love. Related Resources 5 Beneficial Foods for Mental Health Looking beyond the enjoyment of a fantastic meal, there is a (science-backed) connection between what you eat and your mental ... [Read More] 11/1/2022 | By Brierley Horton, EatingWell.com Is Vitamin D Testing Worthwhile? A reader wonders if vitamin D testing is worthwhile or if perhaps the value of D has been overblown. Dr. ... [Read More] 11/1/2022 | By Howard LeWine, M.D.