Plant Purple Vegetables for Good Health

comments (3) May 22nd, 2017

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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When planting for health, purple packs a punch.Click To Enlarge

When planting for health, purple packs a punch.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

I remember the first time I bought a bag of purple potatoes at the farmer's market. I wanted to whip them into lavender-colored mashed potatoes as a Thanksgiving joke.

But who's laughing now? It turns out purple vegetables pack a punch and are a great choice for good health.

Researchers have discovered foods with purple, blue or red colors have some extra health benefits. So instead of planting green cabbage, plant the purple varieties.

Instead of yellow onions, go for the red. White cauliflower pales in comparison to those beautiful purple heads. While you're at it, plant a few 'Indigo Blue' tomatoes, too.

Studies show vegetables in purple-ish colors are loaded with anthocyanins, an antioxidant. The darker the purple color, the more concentrations of anthocyanin are available. The more anthocyanins, the more antioxidants at work.

"Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals," according to WebMD. "Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, and other conditions."

Because purple vegetables and fruits (like blueberries) have more antioxidants than less colorful foods, they've been shown to prevent or inhibit the growth of certain types of cancers and help regulate blood pressure.

Other benefits include reducing the risk of heart attack, improving brain function and protecting against diabetes. Antioxidants may even protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

Here are some of the top picks when planting purple this season:

Red Cabbage

  • 'Red Drumhead'
  • 'Red Express'
  • 'Ruby Ball'
  • 'Ruby Perfection'
  • 'Super Red 80'


  • 'Cylindra'
  • 'Boro'
  • 'Early Wonder'
  • 'Robin'
  • 'Red Ace'
  • 'Detroit Dark Red'


  • 'Mulberry'
  • 'Purple of Sicily'
  • 'Depurple Hybrid'


  • 'Purple Haze'
  • 'Purple Sun'
  • 'Purple 68'
  • 'Purplesnax'


  • 'Giant Red'
  • 'Candy'
  • 'Red River'

posted in: health benefits, purple vegetables

Comments (3)

WesternGardener writes:

If the link isn't visible, just Google "Red Leafy Vegetables + University of Florida IAFS Gardening Solutions."
Posted: 2:14 pm on June 16th
WesternGardener writes: Thanks for your question--the answer is yes! Here's a link to an article from the University of Florida that explains it all:

Posted: 2:12 pm on June 16th
Radtek writes: I have for years grown Swiss Chard the reddish version . I do this for the flavor. Would this variety also offer the same increase in concentrations of anthocyanin as the vegetables listed?
Posted: 9:24 am on June 14th
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