Is purple food better than green? Health benefits, dos and don’ts of this new trend

Updated on Sep 23, 2017 09:04 AM IST

Acai, blueberries, eggplant, purple cabbage and eggplant will rule your plates for the rest of the year.

Purple food is a top food trend on Instagram too.(
Purple food is a top food trend on Instagram too.(
Hindustan Times | By

Just like colourful smoothie bowls, rainbow cakes, black burger buns and gravity-defying freakshakes were the rage last year, this year has been about purple coloured food. Right from cocktails, juices, tacos, to noodles and ice cream, the colour purple is ruling our plates and palettes this season.

At Nara Thai, the newly opened Thai restaurant in Mumbai, butter pea flower rice has been one of their most ‘instagrammed’ dishes on the menu. Made with butter pea flower from South East Asia, the rice changes its colour from ink blue to a vibrant shade of purple when a slice of lime is squeezed on it. This flower is also used in some of the cocktails on the restaurant’s menu.

Butter pea flower. (Nara Thai)
Butter pea flower. (Nara Thai)

Similarly, at Shizusan Shophouse & Bar, this flower is used to make a bunch of cocktails. “The flower is a good substitute to artificial flavouring and colours,” says Tanai Shirali, director of operations at Bellona Hospitality that runs restaurants across Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune.

In Delhi’s Kylin Premier, located at Ambience Mall, diners are taken in by the water chestnut, broccoli and asparagus dim sum as the delicate flavours perfectly compliment the beautiful purple-coloured cover.

Is it just a food fad?

Internationally purple food took off in a big way since the beginning of the year. Food pundits had already predicted it to be a massive trend to watch out for. Instagram was flooded with photos of acai berry bowls and purple yam. And unlike the black food trend -- black burgers and black ice cream made with activated charcoal – this one actually promises some benefits to the body. It also helped that the colour itself is soothing to the eyes and offers many opportunities for picture-perfect food shots.

Hattori Hanzo, a cocktail made with butter pea flower and tequila. (Shizusan Shophouse & Bar )
Hattori Hanzo, a cocktail made with butter pea flower and tequila. (Shizusan Shophouse & Bar )

Shirali agrees. “The two major trends ruling the food industry today are: eat consciously and feed your eyes before your stomach. The purple in food along with being visually appealing often indicates nutrient density and antioxidants.”

Foodhall, the gourmet grocery store, has seen a spike in sale of purple coloured vegetables like eggplants, purple cabbage, purple sweet potato, purple corn and berries, among others. The store has also set up a purple food experience zone to educate customers of its many health benefits.

“Purple coloured food is good for your body as it has high levels of antioxidants like anthocyanin and flavonoids. These protect body cells from damage and help reduce risks of cancer, stroke and heart diseases,” says Swasti Aggarwal, food strategist at Foodhall.

Kale salad with purple corn. (Foodhall)
Kale salad with purple corn. (Foodhall)

Here are some health benefits of purple food:

Glowing skin: Purple and blue coloured fruits are among the best options for great skin. Blueberries, blackberries, plums are rich in antioxidants and help your skin look younger for long.

Fights risk of cancer: Purple cabbage, eggplants, black currants, purple onions have flavonoids, a natural pigment which boosts immunity from certain cancers.

Healthy gut: Purple sweet potato has anthocyanin, which helps digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Helps weight loss: Purple carrots have high levels of pro-vitamin carotenoid, which is a powerful antioxidant. This helps in managing glucose level in the body.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more.


    Meenakshi Iyer writes on food, fashion, technology and health for Hindustan Times. She has worked with Indian Express, Mid-Day and Reuters in the past.

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