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Purple Vegetables & Purple Fruits To Try Today

Bright hues on your plate do more than pleasing the eye. Purple vegetables and fruits, loaded with nutrients and flavor, invite a color revolution to our dishes, one meal at a time. Discover the benefits of powerhouse produce like purple sweet potato, red dragon fruits, plums, and more. 

Related Read: Fruits That Are Vegetables And Vice Versa.

10 Types of Purple Vegetables 

1. Purple Potatoes

purple potatoes
Photo by Marco Verch on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Most people only know of two types of potato- white and sweet potato. However, there’s one more type of potato. Purple potatoes are uncommon, but they pack a load of nutrients. Purple potatoes are a member of the Solanum tuberosum family. 

They are native to the Andes mountain region in South America. Purple sweet potatoes have the pigment because of a class of flavonoids known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are also responsible for blueberries’ color. 

Although it is difficult to find purple sweet potatoes in the market, they are worth the extra search because they contain nutrients. It is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6. These nutrients are great because they boost the body’s health.  

For instance, B vitamins support the brain, emotional health, and immune system. Potassium synthesizes protein and helps your muscles and nerves function properly. A purple potato contains three times more oxidants than yellow or white potatoes2.

Can you cook it just like the other potato types?  Yes, you can! It is just as versatile. You can bake it, roast it, and boil it.   

2. Purple Carrots

purple carrots
Photo by Marco Verch on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

A purple carrot is particularly rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation and have the same nutrient value as an orange carrot. History shows the first usage of purple carrots dates back to the 10th century in the Iranian Plateau and Persian Empire.

Like an orange carrot, it contains B vitamins, vitamins C and A, fiber, manganese, and potassium. It also has antioxidants that protect your body from oxidative stress, an imbalance between reactive molecules and antioxidants. These antioxidants include chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and anthocyanins. 

3. Purple Cabbage

purple cabbage
Photo by Daniel Dan on Pexels.

Purple cabbage is often known as red cabbage. The vegetable is part of the Brassica genus of plants. Red cabbage has the same taste profile as green cabbage, but red cabbage has a more prominent nutrient profile. 

Like other purple vegetables, anthocyanins are responsible for the cabbage’s purple color. It has high vitamin C and low-calorie content. It contains small amounts of iron, calcium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. 

Research shows that red cabbage has 4.5 times higher antioxidant content than its green counterpart. It contains kaempferol, carotenoids, and flavonoids.

This purple vegetable is also a good source of a sulfur-rich compound known as sulforaphane. It forms when raw cabbage is cut or crushed. Purple cabbages can improve your heart health because they contain 36 types of anthocyanins.

4. Purple Asparagus

purple asparagus
Photo by Glenn Dettwiler on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Purple asparagus has an abundance of fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6. It has a sweeter flavor than its counterpart, green asparagus. There is little difference between both veggies. A serving of 90-gram asparagus provides over one-third of the folate your body needs. 

The B vitamins prevent anemia and promote a healthy heart. It contains thiamin and riboflavin, two compounds necessary for growth and development. Overall, asparagus is an excellent addition to meals because it promotes good health.

5. Purple Brussels Sprouts

The purple leaves have deep purple veins, and the color of the leaves ranges from a deep purple to a lighter violet shade. However, purple brussel sprouts don't maintain their color after we cook them. They turn blue or brown after any cooking method. 

These cabbage cousins have two varieties, the Rubine and Falstaff. C.N. Vreeken created the purple Brussels in the early 1940s. He produced it by crossbreeding green Brussels sprouts with green cabbage. 

The Rubine variety was created in 1954 by crossing green Brussels with red cabbage, while the Falstaff is a new creation that's easier to grow. They cultivate through open pollination.

6. Purple Cauliflower

purple cauliflower
Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable from the Brassica family. Apart from green and purple, there are two other colors of cauliflower. The more colorful a cauliflower is, the more antioxidants it contains. 

Researchers didn't create purple cauliflower through genetic modification. They used a slow process of selective breeding to grow them. It has a nutty and sweet flavor profile, which varies from the bitter flavor profile of white cauliflower. 

This purple vegetable contains vitamin C, folate, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A. It is also a great source of fiber as it helps regulate the digestive system. Purple-colored cauliflower will lose its color if boiled too long. 

7. Purple Corn

It has one of the deepest shades of purple among other purple fruits and vegetables. Researchers at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture developed over 20 types of purple corn. These varieties had different amounts and types of anthocyanin antioxidants. 

The researchers discovered purple corn has lots of health benefits. For instance, they found some corn with high levels of a naturally occurring chemical that can fight some types of cancer, inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease. The chemical also helps with weight loss. 

Also, the purple skin of the kernel works as a natural food coloring. Another finding showed that the phenolic compounds in the corn might improve the insulin profile of obese people. 

Professor John Juvik, the head researcher, claimed that the natural color purple of the corn can replace red dye No.40. Red dye No.40 is one of the most popular dyes in the U.S. He said humans can gain some health benefits through a natural, anthocyanin-rich pigment dye added to food and beverages.

8. Purple Kale

purple kale
Photo by KENPEI on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

Purple kale has serrated and ruffled purple leaves- a cruciferous vegetable from the same family as cabbage and Brussels sprouts, Brassicaceae family. Kale contains fiber, calcium, vitamins K and C, iron, and other nutritional benefits. 

These nutrients can improve your bone health, digestion, and heart health. It also contains lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants that could reduce the risk of eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration. 

9. Purple Tomato

purple tomato
Photo by Oregon State University on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Tomatoes are a staple in meals because they offer many nutritional benefits. In 2022, the USDA approved the sale of purple tomatoes. Researchers created it with genetic modification. 

Researchers created it because they wanted a tomato with a good source of nutrients and anthocyanins. They believe the existence of these tomatoes rich in nutrients will reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

Scientists suspect it could be one of the best sources of antioxidants among fruits and vegetables. An example of a purple tomato is the indigo rose. Researchers at Oregon State University created it using conventional crossing and selection techniques.

10. Purple Lettuce

purple lettuce
Photo by Marco Verch on Flickr licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

Purple lettuce is a low-calorie vegetable with a dark purple shade. It contains enough water to keep your body hydrated and reduces the risk of heart disease. It can help lower blood pressure. Also, purple lettuce has vitamins A and K. 

Research shows that purple lettuce has the potential to prevent metabolic disorders. During the research, they found that it reduced weight gain by reducing the accumulation of fat mass and increasing energy output. 

This purple vegetable also improves insulin sensitivity and lipid profile. Overall, purple lettuce is a nutritious addition to a healthy diet.

7 Types of Purple Fruit 

1. Passion Fruit

passion fruit
Photo by Bogdan Krupin on Pexels.

The first fruit on our list of purple fruits is passion fruit. It is a tropical fruit native to South America, Australia, South Africa, and India. There are many species of this purple variety. This purple fruit with a soft pulp and seeds in a hard rind has a lot of antioxidants and nutrients. 

Passion fruit has a significant amount of fiber, niacin, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce cellular stress. Lastly, passion fruit keeps blood pressure stable. It doesn’t increase blood sugar after consumption, making it the purple fruit suitable for diabetic people3.

2. Acai Berries

acai berries
Photo by Saidis on Pexels.

Acai berries grow on the acai palm tree, a plant native to Central and South America. It is an important food source for the indigenous people of the Amazon area. The fruit has a deep purple color, and edible seeds make up 80% of the fruit. 

Consuming these purple fruits can improve brain health and cognitive function, thus reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disease. It contains anthocyanin antioxidants that help reduce the risk of heart disease. Acai berries can prevent cancer cell growth by inducing the death of cancer cells and preventing cancer cell invasion1.

3. Blueberries

blueberries
Photo by Elke Karin Lugert on Unsplash.

Blueberries are among the most commercial berries in the world. Their colors range from indigo to dark purple. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a cup of fresh blueberries contains 0.41 mg of iron, 14.4 mg of vitamin C, 3.6 g of fiber, 21.5 g of carbohydrates, 1.1 g of protein, and 8.88 mg of calcium. 

Blueberries have a high concentration of antioxidants known as polyphenols, anthocyanin, and flavonoids. Adding this purple fruit to your meals can improve your health drastically. Research shows it may improve symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and diabetes.  

4. Plums

plums
Photo by Nadeykina Evgeniya on Unsplash.

Plums are sweet and juicy fruits belonging to the same family as apricots, peaches, and nectarines. There are various colors of plums, but we’ll be discussing plums with purple flesh. There are different ways to consume plums. Some turn them into jam, eat them raw, or make dried plums for easy preservation. 

The indigenous people of Australia use plum fruits and some parts of plum trees to treat problems like mosquito bites, skin sores, flu, colds, and headaches. Plums are rich in Vitamin that help your body heal, heal blood vessels, and build muscle. This purple fruit also improves digestive health by preventing constipation with its natural sugar alcohol acting as a natural laxative.  

5. Purple Star Apple

purple star apple
Photo by Elosito14 on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Cropped from original).

Purple star apples are also known as caimito or cainito. The apple got its name from the shape formed by the seeds inside it. Star apples are delicious. They have a pulpy and jelly-like texture. Some compare its taste to applesauce and grapes grown in tropical areas. 

The star apple is a close relative of egg fruit, mamey, sapote, and sapodilla. You can purchase purple star apples at Hispanic and Asian markets in the United States. They are also available at farmer's markets in areas that grow these purple fruits. 

6. Purple Mangosteen

purple mangosteen
Photo by Kingkonadventure on Pexels.

Mangosteen is a small fruit that grows in Southeast Asia. It has a purple color and juicy white insides.  People from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines eat it raw like other fruits, juice it, and use it as traditional medicine.  

Unfortunately, it is difficult to get mangosteen in the United States because the mangosteen tree needs to grow in tropical areas and requires lots of time to mature. This purple fruit is beneficial for human consumption because it contains diverse nutrients and can reduce inflammation and other health risks.

7. Concord Grapes

concord grapes
Photo from PxHere.

Purple grapes are native to regions with cold temperatures. They have thick skin, many seeds, and a strong flavor. Concord grapes are rich in anthocyanins, an antioxidant responsible for their purple color. Most people usually consume them in juice and jam forms.

Conclusion

Purple fruits and vegetables contain high levels of health-enhancing antioxidants, vitamin C, and other minerals. Include purple foods into your meal plan to boost your immune system, brain, bone, and heart health. 

Purple fruits and purple veggies are an excellent way to add color to your plates. You can pique your child’s interest by making purple foods for them.  Make anthocyanin-rich foods today!

1

Da Silva, M. a. C. N., Costa, J. H., Pacheco-Fill, T., Ruiz, A. L. T. G., Vidal, F. C. B., Borges, K. R. A., Guimarães, S. J. A., De Azevedo-Santos, A. P. S., Buglio, K. E., Foglio, M. A., Barbosa, M. D. C. L., Nascimento, M. D. D. S. B., & De Carvalho, J. E. (2021). Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) Seed Extract Induces ROS Production and Cell Death in MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cell Line. Molecules, 26(12), 3546.

2

Lewis, C., Walker, J., Lancaster, J., & Sutton, K. (1999). Determination of anthocyanins, flavonoids and phenolic acids in potatoes. I: Coloured cultivars of Solanum tuberosum L. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

3

Passos, T. U., De Carvalho Sampaio, H. A., Sabry, M. O. D., De Melo, M. L. P., Coelho, M. a. M., & De Oliveira Lima, J. W. (2015). Glycemic index and glycemic load of tropical fruits and the potential risk for chronic diseases. Food Science and Technology, 35(1), 66–73.

By Jennifer Okafor, BSc.

Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.

Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash.
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