Blue vegetables have been gaining attention for their healthy aging benefits. These vibrantly-hued veggies are both visually appealing and nutritious!
In this article, we’ll explore these colorful vegetables and their impact on healthy aging.
Blue Vegetables Explained
These veggies have a bluish hue, though some may appear more purple or violet in color.
Below are a few examples:
- Blue Potatoes have blue skin and flesh. You can use them in the same way you use regular potatoes, such as baking, frying, or roasting.
- Blue Corn has a blue hue, and is part of a variety of dishes, such as tortilla chips, tacos, or cornbread.
- Blue Tomatoes have a sweeter and more complex flavor compared to red tomatoes. You can use them in salads, sandwiches, sauces, or as a garnish.
- Blue Carrots have a blue or purple hue on the outside and a yellow or orange center. They have a slightly sweeter taste than orange carrots. Their bright color can add a unique touch to any dish!
- Blue Cauliflower is different from traditional cauliflower in that it has a slightly nutty flavor. Roast, mash, or steam your blue cauliflower just like its’ traditional counterpart.
How do these Veggies get their Beautiful Blue Hue?
The blue is due to the presence of pigments called anthocyanins. These pigments give fruits, flowers, and vegetables their red, purple, and blue colors.
Anthocyanins can change color depending on the acidity of the surrounding environment.
Blue potatoes and blue cauliflower sometimes appear more purple or violet, depending on the acidity of the soil in which they are grown.
Anthocyanin Benefits for Skin
The pigments responsible for the vibrant colors of these vegetables benefit the skin.
Skin health benefits :
- Anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness, swelling, and irritation in the skin.
- Antioxidants protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the aging process.
- UV protection: Anthocyanins may help protect the skin from damage caused by UV radiation from the sun.
- Collagen production: Anthocyanins stimulate collagen production in the skin, which can help improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Moisturizing properties improve skin’s hydration and prevent dryness.
Healthy Aging Benefits
These colorful veggies are rich in beneficial nutrients that support healthy aging!
Below are the benefits of consuming blue vegetables:
- Antioxidant properties: Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. These antioxidants may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Some studies suggest that Anthocyanins may have anti-inflammatory effects. Anthocyanins reduce inflammation in the body and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
- Improved brain function: Some research has suggested that anthocyanins may help improve brain function and protect against cognitive decline in older adults.
- Eye health: Anthocyanins may benefit eye health by protecting against age-related macular degeneration, a common eye condition that can cause vision loss.
- Improved digestion: Blue color vegetables are high in fiber, which can help improve digestion and prevent constipation.
Blue Vegetables in your Diet
Incorporating these colorful veggies into your diet can provide a variety of nutrients that support healthy aging!
Where to Find
Blue vegetables can be found in many grocery stores, supermarkets, and farmers’ markets.
However, they may not be as common as other colored vegetables.
Here are a few examples of where you can find blue veggies:
- Blue Potatoes can be found in the potato section of the produce aisle in many grocery stores.
- Blue Corn is used to make tortilla chips and can be found in the snack aisle of many grocery stores. You may also be able to find blue cornmeal in the baking aisle.
- Blue Tomatoes are carried in some specialty stores and farmers’ markets. They may be harder to find than other tomato varieties.
- Blue Carrots can be more difficult to find. Some grocery stores may carry purple carrots, which have a bluish-purple hue.
- Blue Cauliflower may be available at some specialty stores or farmers’ markets.
How to Cook
When cooking these veggies, it’s important to be gentle with them to avoid bruising or damaging their delicate texture.
Avoid overcooking them, as this can cause them to lose their color and nutrients.
Here are a few cooking methods that can work well for blue vegetables:
- Roasting is a great way to bring out their natural sweetness and flavor. Simply toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until tender and golden brown.
- Steaming is a gentle cooking method that can help preserve color. Simply place them in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam until tender.
- Boiling is a quick and easy cooking method. However, be careful not to overcook the vegetables, as this can cause them to lose their color and texture. Simply add them to a pot of boiling water and cook until tender.
- Sautéing is another quick and flavorful cooking method. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add the veggies, and cook until tender and lightly browned.
Takeaways on Blue Vegetables
Incorporating blue vegetables into your diet may support healthy aging.
These colorful veggies are rich in antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and prevent chronic diseases.
Support healthy aging by eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, including blue vegetables.
Pick up some blue vegetables on your next shopping trip to add a pop of color and nutrition to your meals!
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Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also Certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management.