What’s the most fashionable colour this growing season? It’s purple – at least as far as fruits & vegetables are concerned.
All brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, compounds which play a key role in protecting our bodies against disease. One class, anthocyanins, has been shown to be particularly effective in preventing the risk factors associated with heart disease.
Anthocyanins are the antioxidants that are responsible for the stunning hues of autumn leaves and the various hues flowers, fruits and berries. They are found in large concentrations in black currents, blackberries and blueberries, as well as red cabbage, cranberries & cherries.
They are not, however, found in tomatoes. Or not until scientists at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England took a couple of genes from the ornamental snap dragon and presto – the purple tomato was born.
Why do we want such a thing?
Professor Cathie Martin, one of the scientists working on the project, says that a purple tomato will bring the healthful compounds found in blueberries and cranberries etc. to the foods people normally eat in large quantities. The purple tomato could improve the nutritional content of everything from ketchup to pizza topping at an affordable cost.
A study of mice reared on a diet of purple tomatoes lived 30% longer than mice consuming red tomatoes. A large study completed on nurses over 18 years found that nurses with a high intake of anthocyanins had a 30% reduced risk of heart attack. Read more.
They have been reported as having the capacity to improve visual acuity, reduce cancer cell proliferation, inhibit tumor formation, and prevent diabetes. They are also reported to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity.
The purple tomato contains almost as many anthocyanins as a cup of blueberries (500 mg) and far more than strawberries. You can also go for black raspberries at 850 mg. per cup, or seek out elderberries or chokecherries at 2,000 per cup.
If you don’t make the recommended 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day, and it you’re not ready to chug down a glass of purple tomato juice when it becomes available why not try a whole food supplement?
Here’s one that will give you the nutritional essence of nine different grapes and berries every day. Take a look.