Purple Food, Good Food, Supper Food

By Mohammed Hasnain

The color purple has always represented royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition to the common folk of the world. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic. But if you asked Professor Charlton, a dietitian in the School of Medicine at the University of Wollongong (UOW), she would say she associates the color with health and wellbeing.

While illness in aging is a very commonly discussed topic amongst Xennials, Millennials, and most members of iGen, Professor Charlton’s passion lies in learning about aging well and spent quite some time researching this to help us understand better about the social and health-related aspects of aging.

For as long as we can remember people have associated and accepted aging as a natural process it is seen as something very normal, not something one would worry about. But with time we have become more conscious and have noticed what Professor Charlton points out in her research, memory loss that causes someone to lose their way, forget common words, may suggest signs of mild cognitive decline which over time changes to more severe cognitive decline.

Overtime it is seen that most of these people with mild cognitive decline can’t remember even the most basic of things like their address, telephone number or losing the ability to manage their finances by themselves and not being able to take part in any kind of social interaction when these signs are studied more clearly one would say that the individual was suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease which was pointed out by the famous dietitian Professor Charlton. She also acclaimed that dementia is not and cannot be seen as a normal process in aging. This is why scientists and clinicians have been trying to find a solution to this problem for some time now, however, they have come short of anything that can be seen as an effective prevention method or a treatment that could solve the problem.

However, there is little proof that cognitive decline can be easily prevented through the food we eat regularly as per Professor Charlton’s research on the subject. She claims that these are foods that are inexpensive, plant-based, and commonly available at the supermarket that we go to daily.

Now that we know that the answer is so close to us the only question left to ask is which foods should you fill your trolley with? Plant-based foods usually come in colors such as purple, deep red, or blue. The magic of these colored foods lies in their bioactive compounds. Which is known as phytonutrients, these compounds contribute to the antioxidant activity of plant-based foods. In addition to this purple fruits and vegetables are also rich in anthocyanins, which are natural plant pigments that provide foods with their unique color. Studies have shown that anthocyanins may benefit brain health, help to lower inflammation and fight cancer and heart disease. Moreover, purple produce offers other key vitamins and nutrients. Some commonly seen purple fruits and vegetables include Purple Cauliflower, which is known for having powerful cancer-fighting properties, and the purple variety is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and B vitamins. Purple Asparagus is similar in taste to white and green asparagus but is also loaded with vitamin C, according to registered dietitian Katherine Brooking. Plums a great source of vitamins A and C that support your immune system. Dried plums, or prunes, are full of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium.

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