Think rainbow, think fall leaves, think air balloon shows, and bouquets of fresh flowers. That is how you want to pick your fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in colorful foods or simply fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Moreover, these foods provide vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other elements that we need for good health. So let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of eating colorful foods.
How Do You Eat a Colorful Diet?
Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories but are still filling enough to satisfy our hunger. Additionally, fruits and vegetables are often brightly colored when compared to other types of food. Think about why candy marketed to kids is bright and colorful. The companies want you to think that the sweets are real fruits and vegetables.
So, how do you eat a colorful diet? You can begin your day with 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice. Alternatively, you can slice bananas or strawberries on top of your cereal or have a salad with lunch and an apple for an afternoon snack. Include at least one type of veggie with dinner, and you have already had about 5 cups of fruits and vegetables for the day! It’s okay to add a couple of pieces of fruit as a snack. Or at least some vegetables at dinner.
Buy a variety of high-quality fruits and vegetables. Your grocery cart should look like a prism of colors. Buying the freshest, most organic, least contaminated products is best. Also, try not to refrigerate your produce for too long. The next step of eating a colorful diet is to keep the food color when cooking—eating raw fruits and vegetables whenever you can is the best way to get all the nutrients. Lastly, when cooking or steam vegetables in as little water as possible for the least about of time. Blanching or quick sauteing is best and will help retain nutrients.
The Relationship Between Colorful Food and Health?
Eating various brightly colored fruits and vegetables in large amounts is a great way to stay healthy. That said, not all brightly colored foods are healthy. The produce you pick has to be as fresh and untampered with as possible. Unfortunately, some foods are colored with food dyes to make them seem fresher.
Research on food dye suggests that it has no positive effects on your health and, in most cases, is toxic. Only natural food is healthy.
Naturally, colorful foods contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants our bodies need to live a healthy life. The bonus is that these natural healthy fruits and vegetables have few calories and fill you up fast. When eaten regularly, fruits and vegetables protect your body against cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and many other diseases.
Why Do We Need to Eat a Rainbow?
The government even came up with an easy way for us to remember to eat a rainbow daily. The government recommendation: “5 A Day for Better Health Program.” This program provides an easy way to add more fruits and vegetables into your daily eating patterns. This program is theory-based but advises people to eat five or more fruit and vegetables in yellow, orange, red, green, white, and purple a day as part of a high-fiber, low-fat diet.
By a rainbow of fruits and veggies from every color group, you benefit from all of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that each color group has to offer. Using varied color combinations is even better for your body. So, here are a few simple ways to incorporate healthy colors into your favorite meals and diversify the colors in your diet!
What Color Food is Best for You?
While it is safe to say that spinach tops the charts as the healthiest vegetable, that does not mean the color green is best across the board. Right behind spinach are carrots and yes, back to the greens with broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, swiss chard, and peas. As far as fruit goes, red apples, grapefruit, blueberries are some of the highest nutrient based fruit you can buy.
My point here is there is no right answer to what color is best for you because they all contribute in one way or another to healthy living.
Below is a quick list of standard food colors and their effects. This list should give you a better understanding of the relationship between food color and health.
Remember, this is just a quick overview. There are many crossover health advantages, too!
Consuming red veggies and fruits is a significant step toward better heart health. Red foods are loaded with powerful antioxidants lycopene and anthocyanins, a good source of folate, vitamin C, and but not limited to Folic acid, all of which help the heart and soak up harmful free radicals.
Red foods include, but are not limited to, red grapes, strawberries, watermelon, cherries, raspberries, pomegranates, cranberries, red apples, tomatoes, radishes, red cabbage, and beets. All of these foods promote a healthy heart and circulatory system.
Blue and Purple Foods
Not only visually appealing food in the blue and purple family are high in Anthocyanins giving the food its color. The polyphenol compound acts as a potent antioxidant protecting the cells from damage and reducing inflammation. Eating anthocyanin-rich foods may protect against chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Blue and purple foods help with anti-aging and healthy digestion. These foods include, but are not limited to: blackberries, blueberries, purple grapes, plums, raisins, figs, eggplant, purple cabbage, and purple potatoes. All of these fruits and veggies are great for your intestines and help keep your skin looking young and bright! Red fruits are also great for lowering cholesterol levels effectively. Here are some of the best drinks to lower cholesterol.
Orange and Yellow Foods
Beta carotene is what gives orange, yellow, and red vegetables its color.
Beta carotene is a good source of antioxidants. Most orange and yellow foods also contain provitamin A. The combination helps to reduce and sometimes blocks oxidative stress to the body. By reducing oxidative stress, antioxidants help protect against certain cancers, cognitive disorders, and heart disease.
Orange and yellow foods should make you think of boosting your immunity and protecting your nervous system. These fruits and veggies include, but are not limited to, apricots, yellow apples, papaya, pears, pineapple, oranges, grapefruit, peaches, mangoes, carrots, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, and yellow tomatoes. If you want to avoid getting sick, these are the kinds of foods you should add to your diet.
Leafy green vegetables are super good for your health and diet. Packed with fiber, low in calories, and rich vitamins and minerals, greens have numerous benefits when eaten regularly. A diet high in greens reduces the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and is excellent for your mental health. Adding more of these fruits and veggies can help keep your cholesterol in check and make you look young at the same time!
Much like blue and purple foods, green foods have potent anti-aging effects and antioxidants. Additionally, they help lower cholesterol, regulate digestion, and improve immune system functioning. Green fruit and vegetables include, but are not limited to: green apples, kiwi, green grapes, lime, avocado, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, Brussel sprouts, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, and green peppers.
Most of the foods in this category are pack with nutrition. However, most are also high in fiber with is right for your digestion and beneficial for overall health. Studies show fiber-rich fruits and vegetables lower the risk of diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, inflammation, diverticulitis, constipation, and certain cancers.
White foods lower high blood pressure, minimizing the risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancer. These foods include, but are not limited to: bananas, white nectarines, white peaches, pears, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, and turnips. These fruits and veggies could be a life-saver for people who have a history of cancer or high blood pressure in their family!
Don’t be afraid to eat a rainbow your health with thank you. So, the next time you go to the supermarket, think about increasing your vegetable and fruit intake. There are numerous options when picking veggies and fruits. Galia melon, Okinawan purple sweet potato, and Rambutan may become some of your new favorites!
Remember to keep things exciting by combining fruits and vegetables of different flavors and colors. For example, eat red grapes with yellow pineapple chunks, or green cucumbers with red peppers. The possibilities are endless, and your body will thank you!
It’s also important to remember to buy high quality, fresh, and organic fruits and vegetables and make them easily accessible around your house. Keeping fruits and vegetables on hand will encourage you to eat them more often. Keep clean produce at eye-level in the refrigerator or keep a big colorful bowl of fruit on the table. Getting healthy is all about keeping things bright and colorful!