Taste the Rainbow

Good morning everyone! I hope you’re all doing fantastic today!

Sorry for the blur.  The ferry’s kind of shaky. :]

Today, I would like to cover the importance of getting a full range of colors in your diet. (No, food dyes do NOT count as color!!!!) This was actually the theme for the American Dietetic Association’s National Nutrition Month, which occurs every March.  I know it’s a bit late, but it’s a topic that is still very important nonetheless.  A lot of people seem to think that as long as they’re eating something green everyday that they must be eating healthily.  While some green is better than nothing, it isn’t optimal if you’re trying to thrive on a whole foods diet.

Red

Foods are most commonly colored red because they contain large amounts of chemicals such as lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin or hesperidin.  Lycopene is important because it has been shown to decrease the risk and the growth of prostate cancer, as well as other cancers.  Ellagic acid can help reduce blood pressure, and also might aid with the treatment of prostate cancer.  Quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties, and has also been shown to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and work as an antioxidant.  Hesperidin helps to reduce both cholesterol and blood pressure.

Awesome red foods: tomatoes (especially cooked), red apples, watermelon, strawberries, beets, cranberries, cherries, red onions, red potatoes, radishes, blood oranges, rhubarb, pomegranates, guava, and raspberries.

Orange/Yellow

Beta-carotene is the chemical responsible for orange and yellow foods.  Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, which is used to keep the linings of your organs in tact.  In third world countries, blindness is often common because beta-cartene/vitamin A isn’t available in the diet to help maintain the lining of the eyes.  Beta-carotene can also help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. 

Awesome orange/yellow foods: squash, cantaloupe, grapefruit, orange, mango, papaya, yellow peppers, bananas, peaches, apricots, lemons carrots, sweet potatoes, corn, and pineapple.

Green

Chlorophyll is the plant equivalent of blood.  It is also the plants mechanism for capturing sunlight and converting it to energy.  Chlorophyll can help detoxify your liver and blood, improves your vascular system, reduces body odor and bad breath, reduces the risk of cancer, and is an excellent source of magnesium.

Awesome green foods: spinach, Swiss chard, kale, broccoli, asparagus, green peppers, Brussels sprouts, green beans, peas, artichokes, kiwi, pears, green apples, and collard greens.

Blue/Purple

A blue or purple color in a food is usually cause by flavonoids.   Flavonoids are the most potent of all phytochemicals.  They can aid your vascular health and lower your risk of heart disease, can help with motor functions, can help fight cancer, and can prevent infection.

Awesome blue/purple foods: blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, plums, eggplants, purple potatoes, and purple cabbage.

White

White foods often contain allicin, which is a form of sulfur.  This chemical has huge benefits for your cardiovascular system, including reducing fat deposits in your arteries, balancing your cholesterol levels, and has anti-thrombotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  These can also help you fight colds by boosting your immune system.

Awesome white foods: mushrooms, onions, shallots, parsnips, bananas, cauliflower, ginger, garlic, jicama, white corn, potatoes and kohlrabi.

You should attempt to get some of each color into your diet everyday.  Not only will it make your plate more appealing, but it will also make sure that you are varying your fruits and veggies, and getting a good balance of nutrients.  It drives me crazy that the Standard American Diet seems to think of veggies as a side dish.  I like to let the veggies make the meal.  You will get the benefits of the crazy awesome densely packed nutrients in your meal, and it will also be lower calorie because of the higher fiber and lower fat content.  Now that’s something to get happy about!

Well, I’m off to work again! I hope you all have a great day! :]

What’s your favorite way to vary your veggies?

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Nutrition

3 responses to “Taste the Rainbow

  1. Barbara

    I never realized that the “white” veggies had something significant to offer, too. I’ll look a bit broader afield in the produce dept. next time I’m shopping to get more color into my cart. I thought I was doing pretty good if I brought home more than one green item.

  2. Pingback: Lindsay Loves Veggies

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s