April 26, 2016 11:53 am Leave your thoughts
Can eating Purple make you live longer?
In the BBC series How to Stay Young, Angela Rippon and Dr Chris van Tulleken are travelling the world in search of the latest science to help us all stay ‘young and healthy’ for as long as possible. There’s investigation into the role of exercise and scientific discoveries, and into the benefits of mental activities, singing in choirs, table-tennis and dancing; there’s discussion of popular tests (trying to get up from the floor with your arms folded); and there’s advice on the right kinds of food to eat.
Angela Rippon is a good choice to present this programme, of course. Not only because she’s one of the few older celebrities to have survived 2016 to date, but because she’s been a prominent news-reading, tap-dancing public figure for absolutely ages, and is now managing to define the word ‘sprightly’.
Japanese food: a new answer to an old problem?
Episode 2 of the series saw a focus on the brain – how do you ‘stay sharp for as long as possible’? The production team travelled to an island off the coast of Japan, where the inhabitants famously live the longest in the world, in the most healthy way: rates of dementia are much lower there than elsewhere.
Various factors were found to contribute to this, including exercise and a general culture of respect for elders. Diet, though, played a major part, and certain foodstuffs in particular.
The scientists narrowed down their search for the miracle ingredient in the islanders’ diet to one vegetable: the purple sweet potato. They explained that the anthocyanins – the pigments that give the potato its purple colour – play an important role in maintaining healthy blood vessels and keeping arteries supple. Not only does this greatly reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, it keeps dementia at bay too.
Purple sweet potatoes are hard to come by in the UK, but there are other foods that are just as rich in anthocyanins. It’s the purple colour you need to look out for. Blackcurrants turn out to be absolutely stuffed with them, while blackberries make a great alternative (and one that’s pretty much free in the UK). Blueberries too are full of anthocyanins – it’s one of the reasons we sell them as a ‘superfood’. And for vegetables, there are aubergines and red cabbage to bear in mind. All in all, we should be trying to include one or two ‘purple’ foods in our diet every day.
So don’t wait until you’re old to eat purple: eat it now! As for wearing purple, you can wear that when you’ve finished setting an example to your children.
Tags: blueberries, japanese food, purple
This post was written by Yzanne