Eat Your Colors

Now that everyone has a New Years resolution to eat lots and lots of fruits and veggies, I thought I would tell you the benefits of making sure that you are incorporating all the colors of the fruits and veggies!

Source

RED 

Colored by a pigment called lycopene, which may help reduce your risk of several types of cancers (think prostate cancer).  Lycopene is foods containing cooked tomatoes with a little bit of fat are absorbed better than the lycopene from raw tomatoes. Strawberries, raspberries, red grapes and other red fruits act as antioxidant powerhouses that protect our little cells from free radicals and also keep our hearts happy too!

Examples: Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, red grapes, red apples, beets, red cabbage, pomegranates, red peppers, cherries

ORANGE AND YELLOW

These are colored by carotenoids.  Beta-carotenoids are converted to vitamin A inside our body, which is beneficial for eyesight and healthy mucous membranes.  Recent research also says that foods rich in carotenoids help with immune function, fight the risk of cancer, and ward off heart disease.  NOTE: Citrus fruits (oranges) are not good sources of vitamin A, rather they are good sources of vitamin C and folate (a B vitamin).

Examples: Apricots, butternut squash, cantaloupe, mangoes, lemons, carrots, nectarines, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears, pineapple, yellow peppers, pumpkin, rutabagas, sweet potatoes

GREEN

These are filled with the natural plant color, chlorophyll.  Some of the green fruits and veggies contain lutein which works with another compound called zeaxanthin to help with eye health thus reducing macular degeneration.  The indoles in cruciferous vegetables may help fight against some types of cancer.  Leafy greens are excellent sources of folate, a B vitamin that protects against birth defects in the early stages of pregnancy.

Examples: Spinach, lettuce, kale, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, green beans, green apples, cucumbers, honeydew, green grapes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, kiwi, peas, green pepper, zucchini, limes

BLUE/PURPLE 

These are colored by a pigment called anthocyanins, which act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals.  They also might fight cancer, stroke, and heart disease.  There have been studies that have concluded that eating more blueberries help memory and anti-aging properties.

Examples: Blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, figs, plums, prunes, raisins, purple grapes

WHITE

These are colored by pigments called anthoxanthins, which contain chemicals that can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as help reduce the risk of stomach cancer and heart disease.  Bananas and potatoes are also good sources of potassium.

Examples: Bananas, potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, jicama, onions, parsnips, mushrooms

Based on this information, it’s important to make sure that you are getting all the colors of the fruits and veggies because they all help with different things in the body!  Keep it balanced!

 



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