For as long as you can remember you have been reminded to “Eat your fruits and vegetables”. The health benefits are undeniable. They help prevent heart disease and stroke, help prevent some types of cancer, keep blood pressure down, and keep your digestive system functioning well. They even help reduce the risk of certain diseases of the eye. With a list like that, you shouldn’t need any more reasons to make sure you get more of them into your daily intake.
What you might not realize is that in order to reap all those wonderful benefits they have to offer, you must eat a variety of them. Sticking to an “apple a day”, and “eat your spinach to get strong”, will not help you maximize those health promoting nutrients in you. One trip down the produce aisle will reveal a rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables. All those beautifully colored fruits and vegetables all have different plant nutrients in them that help in different ways. They also make your food look exciting and more appetizing, and taste more delicious.
Here is a short guide to some of the benefits of those colors.
Green: Contain lutein. This is a powerful antioxidant that promotes good vision, healthy skin and protection against cardiovascular disease. Broccoli, asparagus, cucumbers, spinach, kale, collard greens, green beans, green peppers, artichokes, green tea, Brussels sprouts, soy, salad greens are all great examples.
Red: Contain antioxidants that provide an anti-inflammatory response, which can keep your heart healthy. Combined with those awesome sessions you’ve been taking at our Farmingdale and Babylon Performance Centers, that’s a pretty powerful combo! If that’s not enough, they can help maintain memory and reduce the risk of cancer. Some examples to add into your diet are: tomatoes, red peppers, red cabbage, red onion, watermelon, papaya, raspberries, and cherries.
Orange/Yellow: Adding some carrots, pumpkin, squash, yellow and orange peppers, sweet potatoes, pineapple, peaches, oranges, mangoes, ginger, and turmeric to your diet will help maintain a healthy heart and eyes. The list doesn’t stop there. The super powers in these foods may also help slow arthritis, increase immune function and help reduce the risk of cancers such as lung, bladder, stomach and breast cancer.
Purple/Blue: Especially high in flavonoids. These nutrients help reduce the risk of heart disease, can help reduce memory loss and may also reduce the risk of some cancers. Eggplant, beets, purple asparagus, blueberries and plums are some delicious examples.
White: Help maintain a healthy heart and cholesterol levels. May also lower the risk of some cancers. Examples are: parsnips, onions, garlic, turnips, jicama, bananas, apples, pears and coconuts.
While this guide is in by no means comprehensive, it should be a good place to start. Check out some of these recipes if you haven’t already and start getting those colors in!