In honor of national nutrition month…
Make sure to eat from the rainbow this month! Eating a variety of colored fruits and veggies will ensure that you get all of the nutrients that you need! Remember that every color has different nutrients that are important to your health. For example:
Blue & Purple fruits and veggies: Boost the immune system, contain antioxidants (anthocyanins) that protect our cells from damage by free radicals, can protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. So, eat your blueberries, blackberries, plums, eggplant, and plums!
Red fruits and veggies: These contain lycopene which is a heart healthy substance that may protect against some cancers like prostate cancer. Lycopene is better absorbed when it is cooked in a little bit of fat. For example, cooking tomatoes in a little bit of olive oil will allow more lycopene to be released, giving us more benefits! Lycopene is also an antioxidant, so make sure and eat your tomatoes, beets, red apples, pomegranates, red grapefruits, radishes, raspberries, cranberries and all other red fruits and vegetables!
Yellow and Orange fruits and vegetables: These all contain beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps our skin, mucous membranes and our eyes to be healthy. It can also help with keeping our immune systems healthy, as well as protect against macular degeneration. This is an eye disease that can eventually lead to blindness and is most common in the elderly. Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and peaches, are also very high in vitamin C which is wonderful for the immune system. Some of the yellow and orange fruits and veggies are pumpkin, carrots, yellow corn, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, butternut squash, apricots and pears.
Green fruits and veggies: Artichokes, lettuce, green onions, spinach, kale, zucchini, brussels sprouts, green beans, cucumbers, kiwi, peas, limes, honeydew and avocado are all part of this group. All of these contain a substance called lutein that can also help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Many of these contain folate, as well. Folate is especially important for women of child-bearing age. Eating an adequate amount of folate can prevent neural tube defects in babies.
White fruits and veggies: These contain a substance called allicin, which is helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is the “lousy” cholesterol that we want to keep low. This substance can also regulate blood pressure levels, and can help prevent heart disease. The allicin gives onions and garlic their wonderful aromas and tastes! Fruits and veggies in this group include mushrooms, potatoes, garlic, onions, cauliflower, jicama, bananas, white peaches and ginger.
All of these colors contribute to our overall health, so make sure and eat from the rainbow! 🙂