Have you ever taken a minute to check the color of your food? “Eat the rainbow” is a term health professionals use to describe eating colorful fruits and vegetables. You may be wondering why it’s so important? Well, in this article, we explore the benefits of eating colorful and tell you what you should include on your plate.
What Is a Colorful Diet?
Simply put, a colorful diet consists of brightly colored foods, mostly fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich sources of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other essential nutrients that help keep our bodies in good health.
The good news is that most fruits and vegetables are easily available and affordable. Plus, they are highly versatile, meaning you can take them as they are, as juice, or as a dessert. When eaten often, fruits and vegetables protect your body against diseases like cancer, hypertension, heart disease, among others.
Fruits and vegetables come in many colors, hence the term “rainbow”, and we are advised to eat at least five colors every day. The color in fruits helps protect the plants from germs, the sun’s harmful rays, and bugs. The color is a result of specific phytonutrients, and each one indicates an abundance of specific nutrients.
Eager to learn more? Keep reading below.
Red Fruits and Vegetables
Red fruits and vegetables are rich in the carotenoid lycopene, a potent scavenger of free radicals that protects against prostate cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. They also contain the antioxidant anthocyanin, an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, and folic acid, all which aid in eliminating gene-damaging free radicals.
While eating raw fruits or vegetables is great, lycopene is enhanced through cooking, as it helps your body absorb more of the nutrient. So, try canned tomato sauce, grilled watermelon slices, cooked beets, or sauté red bell peppers.
- Red Vegetables: tomatoes, red cabbage, radishes, beets
- Red Fruits: strawberries, cherries, red grapes, cranberries, watermelon, raspberries, red apples
Orange and Yellow Fruits and Vegetables
Want glowing skin and clear vision? Yellow and orange fruits are packed with nutrients that promote eye health, improve skin elasticity, and give your skin a natural warmth from within.
Oranges contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid responsible for supplying the body with a heap of vitamin A which your eyes need to stay healthy. These foods also fortify your bones and teeth, thanks to folic acid, potassium, and vitamin C. Moreover, orange and yellow foods play an important role in boosting your immune system.
- Orange and Yellow Vegetables: pumpkin, sweet potato, yellow tomatoes, carrots, yellow pepper, sweet corn.
- Orange and Yellow Fruits: apricots, yellow apples, oranges, peaches, mangoes, pineapple, pears, papaya
Purple and Blue Fruits and Vegetables
Do you forget a lot? Your brain would do with a boost of dark fruits and vegetables. Purple and blue fruits and vegetables are the ultimate brain food. Blueberries, for instance, are dubbed the king of antioxidants, with just one pea-sized fruit packing a load of these free-radical fighters.
One study even found that older adults with early memory changes showed improvements after just 12 weeks of drinking blueberry juice. Blueberries enhance memory and cognition, as well as lower blood pressure. They also protect urinary tract health and regulate digestion.
- Purple and Blue Vegetables: purple cabbage, eggplant, purple potatoes
- Purple and Blue Fruits: blueberries, plums, blackberries, purple grapes, figs, raisins, prunes
Green Fruits and Vegetables
If you like greens but have just had enough of kales, you’ll be pleased to know that there are a variety of other green fruits and vegetables to try. Dark greens like spinach, collard greens, and arugula are high in vitamin A and calcium.
They are also a good source of vitamin K, which helps with blood clotting. These green foods also contain isothiocyanates, which cleanses the liver and protects against certain cancers. A vegetable like an asparagus has been found to promote a healthy bladder and prevent urinary tract infections.
- Green Vegetables: spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, green pepper, peas, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce
- Green Fruits: green grapes, avocado, lime, green apples, kiwi
White Fruits and Vegetables
White-colored foods like white bread, white rice, and white sugar are known to have negative health effects on our bodies. But not the unrefined foods. Fruits like bananas, pears, and veggies like potatoes and onions contain nutrients that minimize the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
They are also known to lower the level of bad cholesterol in the body, as well as lower high blood pressure. Potatoes may be high in starch and carbs, but they contain potassium and dietary fiber.
- White Vegetables: cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, celery, onions, turnips, potatoes
- White Fruits: bananas, pears, white peaches, white nectarines
When choosing fruits and vegetables, opt for fresh ones and those in season. Try to eat the rainbow to reap the health benefits of colorful foods. Remember to buy organic fruits and vegetables to avoid ingesting chemicals used during cultivation.
Additionally, keep the fruits and vegetables where you can see them, like on the table, so that you always remember to eat them.
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