The Power of Purple

Purple fruits and vegetables are the black belts of food.

I do not want to sound like your mother, but I will tell you this many times, “Eat your vegetables!” Most of us are not like the average person, we are eating a more balanced diet than them, but is your diet boring and lacking in some diversity? One might ask, “Is your diet an open mat full of green and white belts?” More than likely it is. Meaning, you’re only eating primarily green vegetables and basic starches. This is fine, but it could be better. Add in purple to your “open mat” and you are now stepping up to a whole new level. Purple fruits and vegetables are abundantly available, but on average, the least consumed on a daily basis. It has come to that time in your journey to get promoted, to go to purple.


0150 Shades of Purple
Purple foods are packed full of nutrients that are not found within other fruits and vegetables. It just so happens that these nutrients are powerhouses that push almost all purple foods into the realm of “superfood.” The chemical found in purple foods that makes them stand out among the crowd, color and nutrient-wise, is anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are beneficial towards heart and eye health, cancer prevention and increasing your antioxidant intake. Think for a second, any time you see “antioxidant” drinks in your local health food stores, what color are they primarily? A shade of purple, hmm, that’s an interesting connection. I also use the term “purple” loosely. All foods that are shades of blue, black and darker reds fall within the realm of “purple.”

Purple Herbs: Don’t let this title fool you. I am not saying to eat that, but by adding in purple basil or lavender into your daily diet you will be boosting your vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium intake. They also say herbs are good for the eyes.


02Benefits of Purple
Anthocyanins are not the only benefit from purple foods. Depending on which you go with, they all bring their own compounds to the table. For instance; a purple carrot is packed with Provitamin A carotenoids, which is a powerful antioxidant, but only gives you 6% of your daily value of Vitamin C, whereas one cup of red cabbage offers you up 66% of your daily value of Vitamin C. Overall, purple foods help fight cancer, ulcers, urinary tract infections, lowers cholesterol, they do it all. But which purple foods should you be eating, just purple vegetables?  Sure, purple vegetables are great, but then again, purple fruits and berries pack the same benefits, but on steroids.



Key Benefits of Purple Berries

Antioxidants: You hear this word a lot in the health food world. Why is that? The tissues and cells in our bodies “rust” over time, especially with poor diets and exercise. Yes, you read that correctly, exercise can harm your body if you are not preparing and repairing your body via a solid diet. The oxidation is one of the leading contributors to disease. Luckily for us, Mother Nature came up with a defense to that submission, the Antioxidants Defense. Blue, black and purple berries are packed full of anthocyanins, the antioxidant mentioned numerous times above. These antioxidants essentially go into our system and hunt down and destroy the free-radicals that build up there. Antioxidants are the Navy Seals of nutrients.

04Heart Health: You may have seen the slogan, “You cannot teach heart” written within a gi. This is true, but what you can do is help protect and improve yours with berries. The anthocyanins help fight the oxidation of the bad cholesterol, which is the leading factor in heart disease. By reducing LDL cholesterol, you are easing your heart’s function. A better beating heart means better cardio and cardio is a major factor on the mats.

Stress and Vision: I am combining these two because if you are like me, they are a major part of your life. I have worn glasses my entire life and the last thing I want to do is lose my vision, but the reality is as we age, our vision will be effected, and not in the positive way. You’ve never seen a 90-year-old man with night vision, but maybe we could, if he ate purple berries his whole life. Anythocyanins aid in the regeneration of rhodopsin, which is the substance in our eyes that helps adjust to darkness. Has the thought of losing your vision stressed you out? Or is your body stressed out because you just stepped off the mats? Well, luckily we have a double whammy with purple berries. Certain berries, predominantly elderberries, help reduce and regulate glucose, magnesium and other stress-induced chemicals within the body from intense exercise. I am sure there is a joke to be made about losing vision as we age and “elder” berries being the cure.


Common Purple Fruits & Berries

Acai, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, elderberry, fig, and plum.


Common Purple Vegetables

Asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, endive, kale, and potatoes (purple skinned or purple fleshed)



MacKenzie Arrington is an award-winning chef based in Buffalo, NY. Off the mats, he is the team chef for a professional sports team, runs a healthy meal prep company and is a culinary knifemaker. On the mats, he is a purple belt out of Lake Effect Martial Arts - Checkmat Buffalo. Connect with MacKenzie on Instagram.
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