A Snack at a Time

Here's food for thought: Eating a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables provides a variety of plant nutrients, also known as phytonutrients, into our diet. Research suggests that phytonutrients have important health benefits. So children's snack time is a great time to add colorful variety to your family's diet.

One color category of fruits and vegetables that isn't well represented in many diets is the purple/blue group, including deeply colored berries, deep purple grapes, and purple hued veggies.

An especially easy and delicious way to get purple into your entire family's diet is with 100 percent grape juice made from Concord grapes. Just four ounces counts as a serving of purple fruit. Kids in particular love its naturally sweet, bold taste, especially at snack time. Deep, dark purple Concord grape juice gets its beautiful color from a group of phytonutrients called anthocyanins. These natural plant substances are believed to contribute to heart health and may contribute to healthy brain function as well. According to the USDA, Concord grapes contain the highest number of different types of anthocyanins among 25 fruits that were measured.

Concord grape juice is also abundant in healthful natural plant substances called proanthocyanidins. Eight ounces of 100 percent grape juice made from Concord grapes has about the same amount of proanthocyanidins as one-half cup of blueberries and about twice as much as a half cup of green or red grapes.

Both of these groups of natural plant substances function as powerful antioxidants. Concord grape juice is one of the best sources of natural antioxidants because of its high total antioxidant capacity per serving. In fact, it has more than twice the antioxidant power of orange juice.

A recent nationwide survey examining the health and nutrition behavior of 7,000 children found that children who drank 100 percent fruit juice had an overall healthier diet than those who did not drink juice. Children aged 12 to 18 who drank 100 percent fruit juice actually had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who drank no juice at all. BMI is a number derived by using height and weight measurements that gives a general indication if weight falls within a healthy range. Among the children surveyed, those who drank 100 percent juice had healthier diets overall, and consumed more whole grains, total fruit, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, and vitamins A and B6.

A serving of 100 percent grape juice made from Concord grapes, such as Welch's 100% Grape Juice (which also provides all the daily need for vitamin C), can be a convenient, delicious and affordable source of blue/purple fruit that will help your family drink their way to a healthier, more colorful diet.

Has your family had any purple today?

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About The Author, Stacey Moore