Did you know that natural foods get their colors from vitamins? These healthy nutrients that come from plants are called phytochemicals. “Phyto” means “plant.” Phytochemicals protect your thyroid, heart, liver, joints, eyes, and other organs. Just by taking a quick glance at the color of a fruit or vegetable, you can tell exactly what type of antioxidants you’re getting!
The Best Colors for Your Body
This is one of the best colors for your health. Intense red fruits and veggies get their color from lycopene and other antioxidants. These superstars help increase your defenses against heart disease, prostate cancer, color cancer and other cancers. If you want to have a strong, energized heart for your entire life, definitely eat more red fruit and veggies.
2. Purple and Blue
These gorgeous colors are a sign that you’re getting lots of cancer-preventing, disease-fighting anthocyanins. People who tend to get urinary tract infections can benefit a lot from eating more blues. These colors also take great care of your brain, increasing memory and concentration while helping prevent strokes.
If there’s one color people think of for healthy eating, it’s green. And with good reason — leafy green veggies are packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, folate and fiber. They can prevent osteoporosis, reduce joint inflammation, take care of your gut and help you lose weight! An antioxidant called lutein is so powerful it can prevent age-related eye problems and keep your mind sharp.
4. Yellow and Orange
Do you remember your mother telling you to eat more carrots for your eyesight? She was right. Yellow/orange fruits and veggies contain antioxidants called carotenoids. They rejuvenate eye tissue, keep your vision healthy and improve your immune system. Any time you need vitamin A or vitamin C, turn to yellows and oranges — they’re the best sources.
In the plant world, white is a color, too. White fruits and vegetables get their color from anthocyanins. These antioxidants are the reason garlic is so good for you. They don’t take the place of antibiotics, but they do help your body fight diseases more effectively, protecting against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. They also lower your cholesterol levels.
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Eating Your Way Across the Rainbow
Including more colors in your diet gives you lots of vitamins. It also makes your meals look more exciting and appealing:
- Green: kiwi, lime, cabbage, spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, celery, asparagus, green peppers, peas, green beans, avocados
- Blue/purple: Blueberries, blackberries, grapes, figs, plums, dates and prunes
- Yellow: Sweet corn, grapefruit, yellow peppers, yellow tomatoes, pineapples and apricots
- Red: Rhubarb, pink grapefruit, red peppers, beets, radishes, tomatoes, apples, cranberries, strawberries, cherries and watermelons
- Orange: Carrots, papayas, oranges, peaches, mangoes, pumpkins and sweet potatoes
- White: Cauliflower, garlic, onions, potatoes, bananas and pears
Trust me, adding more colors to your diet is a smart investment. You can feel the difference right away, from your energy levels in the morning to the quality of your sleep at night.
Tips for Getting More Color
Having trouble getting fresh fruit? Too busy to prepare fresh veggies with every meal? A good compromise is to choose frozen fruit and vegetables. They contain many of the same nutrients as fresh.
Another of my favorite tips is to follow the seasons. This guarantees you the freshest fruits and veggies, and it also gives you more variety of nutrients. Feast on tangy strawberries in summer, juicy oranges in winter, tasty sweet potatoes in fall, and crunchy asparagus in spring!