Eat the rainbow is my motto for nutrition! The more real whole foods we can nourish our body, gut and minds the longer we live our lives in heath and longevity! I wrote this article for Brainz Magazine and I wanted to share it with my family here!
Only one in ten adults are getting enough fruits and vegetables a day. Are you apart of that percentage? Eating more fruit and vegetables can help reduce your risk for chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. Whole fruits and veggies contain fiber, a key nutrient that is important for keeping your gut healthy, which can reduce your risk for autoimmune diseases, fight off pathogens, infections and even improve your mood.
The colors we see in our fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods, actually represent really powerful, important nutrients that are present. Phytonutrients essentially help us to prevent and heal from disease. The best way to determine which phytonutrients we’re getting is to use the color of the fruit or vegetable we’re eating. Meaning, if we’re always just eating one color we are only getting those nutrients. Therefore, the more your overall diet resembles the rainbow, the more nutrients your getting overall! It’s a simple way to look at your shopping list, grocery cart, and weekly meals to gauge what colors your getting and also realize what am I missing. We eat with our eyes first the more colors on you incorporate on a daily basis the more your body will thank you.
Red foods: Red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, red apples, beets, red lentils, kidney beans, red rice, pomegranate, cranberries
Red Food Benefits: Anti-aging properties, improved heart health and protection against breast and prostate cancers. The red foods in your diet are great sources of antioxidants. The phytonutrients present are flavonoids or carotenoids.
Both of these phytonutrients have been shown to help prevent sun damage when consumed consistently. Additionally, their antioxidant status means they’re very anti-inflammatory, which can help to prevent chronic diseases and improve heart health as well. Favorite recipe using one of my favorite red foods BEETS!!
Orange foods: Carrots, orange peppers, butternut squash, pumpkin, oranges, nectarines, peaches, cantaloupe, mango, papaya, cantaloupe, winter squash
Orange Food Benefits: Improve eyesight
Orange fruits and vegetables has nutrients that the body converts these compounds into the active form of vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy. These phytochemicals also operate as antioxidants, sweeping up disease-promoting free radicals. Favorite Recipe using citrus and carrots Roasted Blood orange and Carrot Salad !
Yellow foods: Banana, yellow peppers, summer squash, delicata squash, yellow apples , lemon, pineapple, corn, turmeric
Yellow Food Benefits: Cancer prevention, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties Curcuminoids are found in yellow fruits and vegetables.
They’re the phytonutrients responsible for that potent bright yellow color found in turmeric as well as all the other yellow fruits and vegetables.
Because of their anti-cancer, microbial, and inflammatory properties, these yellow food items have been shown to help to heal those with Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and even diabetes. Curry is one of my favorite yellow spices that offer huge health benefits and one of my favorite ways to eat it is in the Curry Egg Salad with Roasted Grapes!
Green foods: Leafy greens, green peppers, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, brussels sprouts, green cabbage, asparagus, green apples, cucumbers, kolrababi, herbs
Green Food Benefits: Eating plenty of greens increases your fiber intake, which supports your digestion on a daily basis. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, provide compounds called indoles and isothiocyanates, which may help prevent cancer by amping up the production of enzymes that clear toxins from the body. Again, antioxidants are abundant here, which help to ward off disease or prevent disease in the first place. One of my favorite simple green recipes is this Grilled Asparagus recipe with herb sunflower crumble!
Blue and purple foods: blueberries, grapes, blackberries, red cabbage, purple carrots, eggplant, purple potatoes, figs, plums, purple cauliflower, red leaf lettuce, purple peppers, red kale, raisins, purple cabbage, radishes
Blue and Purple Food Benefits: Improve heart health and cancer prevention.
The blue and purple colors you see in an abundance of plant-foods are likely due to the flavonoids present.These have been studied over the years in association with coronary heart disease prevention as well as anticancer activity. By adding more blue and purple food items to your diet you can help to improve your heart health and reduce your chances of developing certain types of cancer. This Roasted root vegetable salad checks all your blue and purple boxes!
Brown and white foods: Ground flax, lentils, jicama, ginger, garlic, onions, chickpeas, legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, Daikon Radish, potatoes, parsnips
White and Brown Food Benefits: strengthen bones and reduce menopausal symptoms
The phytonutrients lignan is present in many brown/white food items. Lignans have been shown to help reduce the chances of osteoporosis development over time.
Not only that, but their antioxidant properties have shown that they may help to reduce heart health, cancer prevention, immunity boosts, digestive tract health, and metabolism. I love white and brown foods and eat them daily one of my favorites is the head of cauliflower! This buffalo roasted cauliflower salad is packed with flavor and so delicious!
Some tips and ways to add more colors into your day— Keep your favorite fruits and vegetables on hand and at eye level in the fridge or in a bowl on the kitchen counter. Add one to two new fruits or vegetables to your list a week and add them to your favorite meals. Take advantage of produce that comes in multiple colors carrots, peppers, apples etc offer different nutrients for each color. Head to the freezer section and get fruits and vegetables but make sure its only the produce you are buying and there are no added ingredients. Making “eat the rainbow” fun and enjoyable process and habit for the entire family, use all your senses and bring the color and love back into the kitchen.
Have an amazing DAY!!