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Monday, May 20, 2024

Does the color of food have a bearing on your health?

By Veita Bland, M.D. / June 30, 2023

Purple foods such as blueberries, radishes and red cabbage contain the chemical anthocyanin which is known to be of great benefit to one’s health.

We have all been told that we need to eat the rainbow. The various colors of fruits and vegetables provide us with an assortment of vitamins and minerals. So, it is widely thought the greater the variety in the colors of the foods that one may eat, the better it is for one. For example, red bell peppers may give you a different set of vitamins or minerals than yellow squash, but they are all good for you. This is the best time of the year to indulge in the greatest variety of colorful fruits and vegetables at the best prices.

Some colors of foods seem to have special powers by being super healthy and are more helpful in the fight against certain diseases like diabetes.

It is no secret that diabetes is one of those diseases that affects many people, and even more are not aware that they are at risk or have the disease. Approximately forty million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes and 100 million Americans have been diagnosed with prediabetes. People with diabetes account for one-fourth of every dollar spent on health care. We know that diabetics do not die of diabetes. They die of cardiovascular issues. On average, diabetics develop more Alzheimer’s than people who are not diabetic. Diabetics also develop problems with their kidneys, eyes and limb vasculature. One way to effectively decrease the chances of developing diabetes is by eating more nutritious foods and by losing weight.

There are foods that may be able to help you achieve good health. One key is to eat fruits and vegetables that are purple in color, which is attributed to the chemical anthocyanin. This chemical gives fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, radishes and red cabbage their purple color.

Anthocyanin is a probiotic, and it has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps the lining of the gut, and it helps regulate sugar and fats in the diet. All these factors can help prevent diabetes. There are different versions of anthocyanin in nature. The supercharged version is found in vegetables such as purple potatoes, purple carrots, red cabbage and radishes. These may be a little harder to digest but their version of anthocyanin is the most potent.

So, let’s add a little more color to our foods, especially the color purple. I knew there was a reason why purple has always been my favorite color and now I know why.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at


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Since 1967, the Carolina Peacemaker has served as North Carolina’s leading news weekly with a national reputation. Founded by Dr. John Kilimanjaro, the newspaper is published by Carolina Newspaper, Inc.

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