Eat The Rainbow
Variety is the spice of life.
This old adage is true in so many parts of our lives, and should also be true when it comes to what we eat.
One of the best tips for healthy eating is “to eat the rainbow.” This means that you should incorporate a variety of different colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet. This will not only help you to lose weight and keep you from getting bored with the same old thing; increasing fruit and vegetable intake will also reduce your risk for chronic disease.
This is likely the group that we are most aware of as being healthy. The powerhouse of this group is green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale). These are nutrient dense, rich in antioxidants, and many of them contain a good dose of calcium. The cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, etc) also help to protect the body from some types of cancer. Try: artichokes, asparagus, avocado, brussell sprouts, green grapes, limes, scallions, peas, and zucchini.
The rich color of blue and purple found in some foods is the product of a group of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These anthocyanins are known to prevent cellular damage, and may help to reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Additionally, there is research that they also may help to improve memory function and support healthy aging. The best in this bunch is blueberries, but there are also blackberries, figs, eggplant, plums, prunes, grapes, and raisins.
Orange and yellow:
Most of these brightly colored fruits and vegetables derive there coloring from plants pigments known as carotenoids (beta-carotene being the most familiar). Beta-carotene is converted in the body into vitamin A, which is essential for eye health. Carotenoids also reduce cancer risk, and can support the immune system. There are a lot of options in this category. A few of the best are sweet potatoes, oranges, apricots, carrots, pumpkin, and squash.
Red fruit and vegetables obtain their rosy hue either from lycopene (tomatoes, watermelon, papayas) or from anthocyanins (raspberries, strawberries, and red grapes). Lycopene is a know cancer fighter, and is especially great for helping to prevent prostate cancer. The anthocyanins are cell protectors. Other red foods are: beets, red cabbage, cranberries, cherries, and pomegranates.
The white coloring of the members of this group comes from anthoxanthins. Garlic contains high amounts of allicin, which can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Also, recent studies have shown that regularly consuming foods from this color group may have the best effect for reducing the risk of stroke in the long term. Try: apples, pears, onions, cauliflower, ginger, jicama, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, and turnips.