Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Color of Food

For years I've heard that you should eat a rainbow of food which means that I need to eat a variety of colors.  Why?  Well, according to Redbook this is the answer to my why.

Red Fruit and Veggies:
The rosy hue in the luscious produce comes from lycopoene, an anitoxidant that protects skin from sun damage and decreases the risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer.  Red fruits and veggies are also rich in anthocyanins, powerful flavonoids that fight cancer and reduce the risk of heart attack.  Plus, they maintain memory function and keep the urinary tract healthy.

Orange and Yellow Fruit and Veggies:
Fruits and veggies in this color family are all immune-boosting powerhouse, thanks to their carotenoids, which are converted to vitamin A in the body.  Vitamin A is just as important as vitamin C, if not more so, when it comes to building a healthy immune system.  You might not think of mango and butternut squash as foods that can prevent you form getting sick, but they are.  Adding sunshine-colored foods to your diet also boosts reproductive health and gives you clearer skin.

Green Fruit and Veggies:
Doctors and dietitians agree that if you're looking to lose weight, you should load up on greens.  That's because every vegetable in the green spectrum is low in calories and high in fiber.  You get a lot of nutrition in a low-cal package that'll fill you up.  The chlorophyll in greens may help ward off cancer and has alkalizing benefits, helping to bring the body back to a healthy pH balance.  (Most of us are acidic, thanks to the processed foods we eat.)  Green foods also have high levels of certain phytochemicals that help break down carcinogens and strengthen bones and teeth.

White and Tan Fruit and Veggies:
These fruits and veggies may look bland but they've got plenty of health benefits.  They're loaded with anthoxanthins, which have been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as prevent heart disease.  Many of the foods in this color group also contain allicin, which may decrease the risk of stomach cancer and inhibit tumor growth.  Plus, when it comes to white and tan produce, these foods have a lot of texture which makes them interesting to cook and eat.

Blue and Purple Fruit and Veggies:
These dark beauties have hefty doses of phenolics and resveratrol, two plant nutrients that reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease while they improve memory.  And like produce in the red color group, blue and purple fruits and veggies get cancer-fighting powers from anthocyanins, those powerful antioxidants.  While purple veggies like cabbage and eggplant might seem daunting to work into your diet, they're a lot easier to cook than you might think, and less expensive than berries.

Now I know why my plate should look like a rainbow and so do you!  
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