Every February we celebrate American Heart Month and bring attention to the many ways we can take better care of our hearts. I received a beautiful sample package from Welch’s and think this is a perfect time to share some fantastic tips to use the power of purple to improve the health of our precious tickers.
Did you know that a concord grape is a berry? Yes, it is. Berry polyphenols (the stuff that makes grapes purple) can act as antioxidants and play a role in heart health by supporting healthy blood vessels. Yet, only about 3% of fruits and veggies consumed are from the purple/blue group.
Here are 5 ideas to enjoy purple produce: (courtesy of Welch’s)
1. Sprinkle blueberries or blackberries on cereal
2. Add 100% grape juice to a smoothie
3. Toss purple cabbage in with salad greens
4. Pump up side dishes with purple potatoes and eggplant (try my easy Eggplant Marinara with Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe)
5. Poach purple plums for a sweet treat
Also, drinking 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes is an easy and delicious way to reap the wonderful health benefits of polyphenols. What about the sugar you ask? As someone who is very calorie and sugar conscious, I believe that with any food and beverage, balance is the key. 100% fruit juice should be enjoyed in small portions and not become a substitute for water or other non-caloric beverages. The majority of studies show that drinking moderate amounts of 100% fruit juice is not linked to overweight or obesity in healthy adults and children. I especially see the benefit in drinking 100% grape juice as we consume such a small percentage of our already limited produce intake via purple sources.
Cooking with 100% grape juice is also a fun way to add some extra purple to your day. I made a super simple grape juice reduction and enjoyed it as sweet syrup on a few of my breakfast recipes- no sugar added.
How I did it: Pour 1 cup 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, let simmer for around 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the grape juice easily coats a spoon. (It will thicken more once allowed to cool) Take care not to allow it to burn! Place the syrup in the refrigerator in a small glass container, it will thicken more upon cooling.
I later topped the following two recipes with the grape reduction for a “sweet” morning:
Peanut Butter and “Jelly” Oatmeal Breakfast Pie
Find the base recipe at: http://nutritionstarringyou.com/oatmeal-breakfast-pie/
When ready to serve, top with 2 Tablespoons powdered peanut butter (reconstituted with water). Place grape syrup in a sandwich sized zipper bag and make a small hole by cutting off one corner. Design a heart shape on the pie or just have fun drizzling.
For more information and research about Concord grapes, visit www.welchs.com
How do you incorporate purple into your diet? Please share in the comments below!!
Disclosure: I received free product from Welch’s, I did not receive monetary compensation for my time.