Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"They Actually Eat That:" Purple Carrot.

Purple and red seem to be "in" health food colors these days. One, red is the most attractive color to the human eye; why not market it? Two, ever since pomegranates, almost anything red or deep blue can be labeled as having antioxidants - chemicals that supposedly bust trans fat (best avoided to begin with) and slow cellular decay. That said, is it any surprise that I found a food drink with purple carrots in it?

You should buy these. Right now.

Yes, carrots come in purple. The result looks like the ultimate, tie-dye hippie food above. It's also totally true that one can turn orange if one eats too many carrots.This has less to do with the color of the root and more with the vitamin content - in this case, beta carotene. Purple carrots still have beta carotine in there, so you'll turn orange, not purple, if you eat too many!

Actually, all carrots used to be purple. That was true of corn at first, too. The original carrots, grown in Afghanistan some 5 millennia ago, were reddish-purple roots with splashes of orange. Wild carrots remain purple, have more of a stem, and are more bitter than their orange counterparts. In short, they are less tasty, but still potentially edible - and very good for you.

Like many other popular purple and red foods, purple carrots have anthocynanins, a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants, along with busting trans-fats, are the modern panacea. They do everything from weight management to memory enhancement to preventing heart attacks, depending on who you ask. Overall, purple carrots really seem like a superfood made better. There are plenty of captive-bred varieties that blend the best of both worlds. 

The orange carrots we know and love today were cultivated by the Dutch in the 17th century. They were cultivated to be more, well, edible than their wild counterparts. The root has more meat, less woody stem, and is overall more food for one's buck. The orange may have also become popular because of the Dutch House of Orange. Even if they don't have anthocynanins, eat up- they do indeed help your eyes and still have a lot of good in there.

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