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Want an abundance of potent nutrients? Go for the brilliant blue foods, from blueberries and blue tomatoes to concord grapes and damson plums.
Why you should be eating Naturally Blue Food that are Blue
Green produce gets all the limelight. Sure, arugula and spinach are great for your health, but there's a whole other family of equally powerful food group that does wonders for your body. Blue foods are bursting with the antioxidant anthocyanins that help boost your brain function, promote heart health, and lower your risk of high blood pressure and even cancer. What's more, they also fight free radicals and slow the effects of aging.
Here're the top 21 blue foods with powerful health benefits that deserve their own space on your plate
Naturally Blue Foods: Fruits
1. Blue Tomatoes
Topping our list of nutrient-rich foods that are blue is blue tomatoes. Yes, you heard that right. Tomatoes aren’t just round and red. They’re also blue. But the blue color is only skin-deep. Peeling them will reveal the inside of the tomato, which is still red.
Blue tomatoes, aka Azul Blue, Bosque, purple, or Indigo rose tomatoes, are insanely delicious, but the blue hue also means they are loaded with anthocyanins. Meaning these round, blue fruits can do wonders for fighting inflammation, diabetes, and obesity. Furthermore, just like their rosy-red counterparts, blue tomatoes contain high amounts of the antioxidant lycopene that lowers your risk of heart diseases.
Just like regular tomatoes, you can eat these blue ones fresh or use them to make sauces and blend them into a healthy juice.
2. Blue Corn
You might have encountered blue corn tortillas chips at a restaurant and wondered if it’s merely colored or if the corn they came from is actually blue. You’ll be surprised to know that the latter is true.
Initially developed by the Hopi Native American tribe–originating from the Southwestern region of the U.S.–blue corn goes by several names, including Hopi maize, Rio Grande Blue, Yoeme Blue, and Tarahumara Maize Azul. And in the past decade or so, it has become a popular choice for tortillas, chips, corn muffins, and cakes.
In addition to being incredibly tasty, blue corn is also surprisingly nutritious. Full of natural antioxidants, it can help protect against heart disease and reduce inflammation in your body. If you're diabetic or trying to lose weight but can’t seem to part with tortillas, consider switching to blue corn tortillas chips which contain 20% more protein and have less starch as well as a lower glycemic index.
3. Butterfly Peas
Usually featured in cocktails, cosmetics, and herbal tea blends, the butterfly pea flower is prominent for its striking blue hue. Butterfly pea, which goes by the scientific name ''Clitoria ternatea'', is native to Asia. Since it's rich in anthocyanins–the antioxidant responsible for its unique color–the brilliant blue flower promotes skin and hair health, aids in weight loss, and reduces blood sugar levels.
You can brew it into a colorful tea mixed with lemon, honey, or lemongrass to relieve stress and boost your mood.
Insanely delicious and one of the most popular of the blue fruits, these tiny blue powerhouses are jam-packed with nutrients, low in calories, and high in fiber.
The perfect summer treat, blueberries are loaded with essential micronutrients, including manganese, vitamin C and K. What's more, this super blue food contains a plant compound called anthocyanin, which gives blueberries their characteristic blue color and protects your body against free radicals. Additionally, research states that a diet high in anthocyanins may prevent chronic illness, including Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases.
With no peeling, hulling, or pitting needed, this purplish-blue berry is a ready-to-go, tasty fruit that goes great with waffles, pancakes, smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.
Your best defense against common cold and flu, these purplish-blue berries do wonders for boosting your immune system. They are chock-full of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and iron which are all beloved to have incredible effects in treating minor illnesses, including cold, constipation, etc.
Since these anthocyanin-rich berries are quite sour on their own, it's best to cook them to make an elixir and dilute that in water. The healing properties of elderberries are so extraordinary that even Hippocrates, the famous ''father of medicine'', called the elder tree his ''medicine chest'' in ancient times. But these berries aren't just used for their medicinal benefits. You can use them to make delicious jams or wines. Also, they go great with salads.
6. Concord Grapes
When you think of blue foods, concord grapes are usually the first to mind. They come with a slip-skin which is easily separated from the pulp.
Named after Concord, Massachusetts, this dark blue grape is one of the most universally popular foods. And all for the right reasons too. From serving as refreshing frozen treats on a hot summer afternoon to spreading it on a sandwich with peanut butter and tossing it on a salad with goat cheese and some almonds, you can use this incredibly versatile fruit in plenty of creative ways. The sweet, fruity, and candy-like concord grapes are particularly prominent for making the sacramental Kosher wine.
These unique blue grapes are crammed with antioxidants and immune-boosting properties. In fact, studies show that drinking concord grape juice can promote brain health and improve your mood. Since grapes are listed in the EWG's dirty dozen list of highly pesticide-contaminated food, prioritize purchasing organic concord grapes or wash them thoroughly before eating to minimize your exposure.
7. Damson Plums
Smaller than your regular plum, the tiny ovoid damson plums are a quirky pocket-rocket of fruit with a distinctly sweet-sour taste. Dark bluish purple with a firm golden yellow flesh, they are a somewhat mysterious subspecies of plums that most people have never heard of before.
Since fresh damson plums are sour, don't expect to eat sweet, juicy fruit straight off the tree. But when it comes to making jellies and jams where sweeteners are added, damson plums are pure bliss. What's more, you can use them as a delicious ice cream topping and fold them into your muffins or bread.
These blue powerhouses are stocked full of fiber and vitamin C, which makes them an incredibly healthy snack to grab on the go. Also, the high vitamin C content makes them perfect for boosting your immune health and keeping your hair and nails in tip-top condition. And the dark blue skin is jam-packed with the powerful antioxidant– anthocyanins.
It’s time to move over blueberries. With three times the antioxidants as blueberries, haskap berries might be the next new superfood in town. But most people haven’t even heard of them. This is largely because the berries have traditionally been found only sporadically across Canadian wilds.
Haskap, which literally means ''berry of long life and good vision'' also goes by several other names, including blue honeysuckle, sweetberry honeysuckle, blue-berried honeysuckle, sweetberry, and honeyberry. They are a superb source of antioxidants, vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, and potassium.
On the outside, this delicate blue-skin berry is oblong or oval with rich marron flesh and 'melt-in-your-mouth' tiny seeds inside. It has a distinct flavor profile with a unique tangy fruit taste with hints of raspberry, blueberry, and black currant.
But the best thing about haskap berries is that they are super versatile. Wine, health food supplements, jams, condiments, juices, body scrubs, bath salts, lip glosses, you name it–there isn’t much that haskap berries can’t be used to make.
Blue Colored Food: Vegetables
9. Adirondack Blue Potatoes
Move over the Yukon Gold and go for these brilliant blue potatoes the next time you're in a grocery store or the farmer's markets. These eye-catching gems of the potato aisle come from a tuber plant native to the Andes mountain region in South America.
They've got a denser texture and a slightly nuttier, earthier flavor than white potatoes. Packed with vitamins and minerals such as potassium and iron and incredibly low in fat, this fibrous blue vegetable does wonders for your health. Additionally, these superfood potatoes are loaded with the antioxidant anthocyanin.
Use them baked or fried to add a brilliant pop of color to your plate. Best of all, their lower glycemic index means you can devour them guilt-free.
10. Indigo Milk Cap
A truly blue food that stains an even darker blue when sliced with a knife, indigo milk cap mushrooms are deliciously edible. Native to Northeast America East Asia and sold in the rural markets of China, Guatemala, and Mexico, they are super rare.
The inside of the mushroom weeps a blue 'milk,' hence the name Indigo milk cap. With a milk earthy umami flavor, they are an excellent addition to various dishes. But keep in mind that they lose some of their vibrancy when exposed to direct heat or cooked in oil or butter and turn from blue to grayish.
These edible mushrooms are loaded with healthy saturated fatty acids, including stearic acid. And you can add the blue milk from the fungus to add color to marinades.
Natural Blue Food: Plants
11. Blue Marble Tree
You probably have never seen anything like this. Striking blue fruit drops from the blue marble trees and falls to the ground where the outer husk rots away, revealing the hard nut in the center. The fruits are unmistakable due to their incredible color and contain an edible green pulp on the inside.
Known as rudraksha, which literally means ''Lord Rudra's teardrops'', these multifaceted and reticulated seeds come from Twin Falls Maui, on the north shore, along the famous road to Hana. Blue Marble trees are sacred in India, and their seeds are believed to possess extraordinary healing properties that make them widely sought after. Natives of many cultures use the fruits for rudraksha prayer beads and wear them close to their hearts.
12. Blue Pansy Flower
A popular garden flower, pansies come in various colors, including purple, white, yellow, and blue. The word ''pansy'' comes from the French word ''pensee'', meaning ''to think'' or ''ponder''.
The extraordinarily beautiful blue pansy flower belongs to the ‘’Viola’’ group of flowers and can be traced back to the early 1800s in Iver Buckinghamshire, England. They are often associated with honesty and devotion. So if you are looking for the perfect gift to give to an acquaintance or a colleague, blue pansies are a great choice. And since it’s the birth flower of people born in February, it’s a perfect gift for folks born in this month.
Believe it or not, there's more to your favorite blue pansy flowers than just symbolism. For starters, that cute little blue pansy flower blooming in your garden is totally edible. Still not convinced? Check the refrigerated section the next time you're in a grocery store, and you'll see plenty of blue pansies. They are jam-packed with Vitamin A and C and come with a unique floral taste. You can use them to decorate cakes, garnish your cocktails and use them in syrups, natural dyes, and flavored honey.
13. Blue Starflower
Also known as Borage, blue starflower is a fast-growing herb native to Europe with striking blue flowers and the flavor and scent of cucumbers. Although it's a herb, it's usually grown as a flower in vegetable gardens and improves the taste of tomatoes, squash, and strawberries growing nearby.
With the striking star shape of its spring-time flowers, this Mediterranean flower has long been prized for its health-promoting properties. It’s particularly rich in GLA, an omega-6-fatty acid that alleviates inflammation. Moreover, it's used in traditional medicine to treat various conditions, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and atopic dermatitis. Since the compounds in blue starflower are metabolized in the liver, people with liver problems, pregnant, and breastfeeding women should avoid it.
You can use both the colorful leaves and flowers of the plant to garnish your salads. Also, blue starflowers can be used in desserts, cocktails, and ice cubes to add a luxurious touch to your drinks. Additionally, the seeds are used to make borage oil, which does wonders for your skin and hair when applied topically.
Blue Food: Meat
The next time you're in a seafood restaurant and want to try something different, order the bluefish. Bluefish is a migratory, warm-water species popular along the U.S. Atlantic coast, ranging from eastern Florida to Maine.
Grilled and drenched in lemon butter, bluefish is insanely delicious. Not to mention that they are an excellent source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, omega 3s, and an amazing source of potassium and magnesium. Since bluefish degrade over time and don't freeze well, they’re best eaten fresh. In terms of taste, it has a rich, strong flavor and the texture of the meat is a bit coarse but soft and moist. Also, they’ve got a higher fat content than whitefish. But grilling allows some of the fat to drip away.
Although you might want to consume it in moderation due to the higher mercury level.
15. Blue Lobster
While numerous unusually colored specimens live under the sea, there's none quite like the blue 'cotton candy' lobster. However, your chances of coming across one of these incredible creatures are one in two million. If you're lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this rare creature, it'll likely be around the Atlantic coast of North America, Europe, and some parts of Australia.
You might think that the striking blue hue of this lobster is because they are of a different species. However, they are just a tremendous variation of the regular American(murky brown, green, or light orange colored) and the European lobster(dark navy blue or purple-colored). And the bright blue color is a result of a genetic abnormality that causes them to produce more of a certain protein than others. These beautiful creatures are priced for as high as $500 on eBay.
16. Blue Crab
These one-in-a-billion blue crabs, also known as the Atlantic blue crab or the Chesapeake blue crab, are an incredibly rare genetic mutation. Native to the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the blue crab's scientific name is ''Callinectes Sapidus'', which literally translates to ''tasty beautiful swimmer''.
True to their scientific name, these blue crabs are prized for their sweet, delicate flavor and tender meat. What's more, their paddle-shaped back legs make them excellent swimmers. They are widely sought after as an essential culinary product in the U.S., particularly in the world's largest blue crab fishery in Louisiana.
17. Blue Caviar
What if we told you that caviar comes in colors other than just orange, red, and black? Yes, that's right. Blue Caviar is real. What's more, it's extremely rare and widely popular too.
Known as the ''Sapphires of the Ocean'', these glistening blue bubbles are the row of wild Scampi, harvested mainly in Australia. The naturally blue roe season is only between November to March when the Scampi are hand-harvested, their roe hand-sorted and collected with no additives except salt.
When it comes to taste, blue caviar has a distinctive umami flavor and brininess of anything it is added to. As opposed to regular caviar, it has a lower-fat content. Meaning that it isn’t naturally creamy in texture, but its firm texture can create a satisfying pop in the mouth.
18. Blue Shrimp
Sweet and succulent with a crisp, snappy texture, the blue velvet shrimp is a freshwater shrimp species that simply looks breathtaking. In fact, the vibrant blue hue almost looks fake when you see it for the first time.
The blue velvet shrimp, or Blue Dream, is native to Taiwan, and their deep color is a result of selective breeding. For all the aquarium enthusiasts out there, they are a perfect addition to your aquarium since they are efficient little live-in janitors that'll clear away any algae or biofilms forming on your plants.
Natural Blue Foods: Other
19. Blue Cheese
You may not think of the cheese as a food that is blue but the color blue can be found in the veins of blue cheese. The color is made by culturing mold during the cheese making process. Some of the most popular varieties of blue cheese are Stilton, Gorgonzola, and Roquefort.
20. Blue Velvet Cake
Just like your regular red velvet cake, blue velvet cake is also a fluffy vanilla base with a subtle hint of chocolate slathered in a scrumptious cream cheese frosting. And the only difference is, well, obvious; it's blue. The food coloring used in blue velvet cakes most likely is the brilliant blue FCF--one of the oldest FDA-approved food coloring that is generally safe and non-toxic. Although there aren't any documented negative effects of brilliant blue, it still doesn't come with any health benefits found in other blue foods.
21. Blue Curacao
There’s no better way to cure the blues than to enjoy a blue curacao cocktail.
Blue Curacao is an orange liquor invented in the 19th century by Dutch settlers on Curacao, an island in the Caribbean. Peels of laraha orange are used to make an orange-tasting liqueur, which is surprisingly…not blue. In fact, it's totally colorless. So, where does the blue in blue curacao come from?
Well, it doesn't come from any magical natural process, but rather blue food dye is what gives the blue curacao its distinctive hue. While it's artificially colored, blue curacao is worth the occasional splurge. This stunning cocktail is the perfect summer drink with a sweet orange peel flavor and a subtle bitter finish. Just don't get too carried away, as the liquor doesn't bear any particular health benefits.
Blue Foods FAQ
Naturally blue foods typically are packed with nutrients and health benefits.
Yes, there is a wide variety of actual blue foods like blue corn, blueberries, blue potatoes and more.
Did we miss any blue foods? Let us know in the comments. Also be sure to check out this list of 36 foods that are yellow.