• Aimee.Dillon

Purple is the new Orange

Updated: Aug 31, 2018

If you haven’t discovered Purple carrots and their added health benefits compared to their Orange rellies, then I suggest you grab a bag fresh from the growers before heading back from your Ohakune ski trip this September or hunt them down in your local fruit and veggie shop.

Purple carrots date back 1000’s of years to the 10th century and it is thought that the popular Orange colour that we are so familiar with didn’t even come in until the 17th century.

They have a sweeter taste than regular orange carrots and make a colorful addition to any plate. Purple carrots aren't just colorful, they're also loaded with beneficial antioxidants and nutrients.

High in Vitamin A they can help improve memory and enhance vision. Studies have shown that the blue and purple pigments contain an antioxidant compound called anthocyanin. Antioxidants fight off free radicals in your body, which can permanently damage cells and cause chronic illness such as cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol. Adding anthocyanin to your diet can help lower your "bad" LDL cholesterol, while also protecting your nervous system, particularly your brain, which is susceptible to oxidative damage.

Full of fiber, which is a beneficial compound that speeds up digestion and helps your body absorb essential nutrients and assist with weight control. Most of the fiber in purple carrots is soluble, which absorbs water in the digestive tract, forming a gel-like substance as it travels through the intestines. It can help lower blood cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels.

The Anthocyanins from purple carrots may also help with the effects of diabetes, notes an article published in 2007 in "Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition". Having diabetes causes damage to blood vessels, which are made from collagen. These beneficial antioxidants neutralize enzymes that damage collagen and connective tissues. Excessive damage can lead to frequent high blood sugar levels, causing further damage to blood vessels. Anthocyanins help repair and restore collagen, making blood vessels strong and improving blood flow.

When shopping for these purple pleasures, try to buy them without their green tops or chop the greenery off as soon as you get home. This will stop them sucking the vitamins, nutrients and moisture out of the carrots keeping them enriched for you to enjoy. Carrots are available in New Zealand all year round but are at their best in the winter months. They can come in a rainbow of colours from white, yellow, orange to purple. The best time to be planting this in ground root vegetable is from September to May.

Tip: Cut the top off a carrot and keep it in a little dish of water on the window still until it starts to sprout then replant in your garden for your own homegrown carrots.

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