Filling your plate with a kaleidoscope of colours not only looks Instagram-worthy, it’s good for your health too. Alongside the other major food groups, ‘eating the rainbow’ can help you munch your way to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
Fruit and vegetables, like California Prunes, contain a range of vitamins and minerals that support overall health and the immune system. The California Prune Board has been supporting research into the positive effects California Prunes can have on health for over a decade. As a source of vitamin K and manganese, prunes can support the maintenance of healthy bones, while a recent study has shown how eating a portion daily may improve heart health and inflammation in postmenopausal women. Prunes are also the only natural, whole dried fruit to have obtained an authorised nutritional health claim in Europe, which states prunes contribute to normal bowel function when 100g are eaten daily.
Here, Italian dietitian and nutritionist, Dr Annamaria Acquaviva shares her expertise on rainbow eating.
Fruits and vegetables contain components that work in synergy to benefit the body. Their protective effects are given by the combined action of water, carbohydrates, fibres, vitamins, minerals and the precious coloured phytocompounds, which characterise fruits and vegetables according to their colour.
The blue-purple found in plums, berries, radicchio and black grapes is determined by anthocyanins. In California Prunes the drying process involves the increase of an antioxidant phytochemical: chlorogenic acid, which doubles the antioxidant activity.
Beta-carotene gives orange-yellow fruit and vegetables like carrots and pumpkin their colour and is an important antioxidant. It’s a phytochemical compound that is part of the carotenoids, which our body converts into vitamin A, which is essential for many functions of the body.
Green vegetables like asparagus, chard, broccoli, artichoke, cabbage, cucumber, parsley, and spinach contain two valuable components: magnesium and folic acid. Magnesium is part of the chlorophyll molecule and promotes normal energy metabolism and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, while folic acid is especially important in pregnancy.
Lycopene and anthocyanins are the phytochemical compounds with antioxidant action responsible for the red colour of tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. The red colour is given by two phytochemical compounds with antioxidant action: lycopene and anthocyanins.
When associated with a fatty condiment, such as a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on gazpacho or pasta with sauce, the lycopene contained inside the tomato becomes more available to the body. When consumed raw, vegetables such as tomato and bell pepper provide an important intake of vitamin C.
Like prunes, ‘white’ vegetables, such as fennel, garlic and cauliflower, contain potassium and fibres. Potassium contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system and normal muscle function, as well as the maintenance of normal blood pressure, while the fibres contained in these vegetables helps keep the intestines healthy.
Have a look at some of our favourite ‘purple power’ recipes to help you get creative (and colourful!!) in the kitchen.
- This delicious Spiced Purple Power bowl contains succulent California Prunes, cauliflower and lentils dressed in an apple cider vinaigrette for extra pizzazz.
- Power up your morning routine with this delicious Purple Power Smoothie, combining berries and delicious California Prunes.
- Peter Sidwell’s mouth-watering California Prune Couscous salad blends a hint of fennel and mint with fabulous feta, complemented by tasty California Prunes.
The California Prune Board has also teamed up with Italian chef, Andrea Mainardi, who has created a wonderful menu celebrating the versatility of our delicious purple wonders. We’ll be sharing his culinary creations on our website over the summer, but in the meantime, you can see him in action creating a delicious prawn and California Prunes salad and whipping up a gorgeous gelato featuring California Prunes. Belissimo!
Hungry? Visit our recipes section for more ideas on how to power up your plate with delectable California Prunes!
 Piga A, Del Caro A, Corda G. From plums to prunes influence of drying parameters on polyphenols and antioxidant activity. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Jun 4;51(12):3675-81.