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Eating the Rainbow: Why Eat a Variety of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables?

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Raise your hand if when growing up your parents were always telling you to eat our vegetables! But did they encourage a variety of colorful vegetables and not just green veggies? Now, as an adult and maybe even a parent yourself, you are no longer satisfied with just a plain green salad or green beans thoughtlessly plopped into a bowl from a can. Instead, you now pile your plate high with fresh and crisp colorful fruits and vegetables from your garden or the farmers’ market.

Eating a rainbow of foods is a big plus on the healthy scale, but do you know why eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is good for you? Consuming different color foods plays a role in insuring you are getting enough essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and more. Eating this way can help to protect against many potential body ailments and chronic diseases such as illnesses like the flu, cancers, digestive issues, declining vision, loss of bone density, and can even help with weight management. Besides, your mood will most likely be lifted when your plate is full of a variety of visually appealing bright colors versus covered in a dull, white, and plain blandness. Brighten up your plate and you will brighten up your health!

Read on to learn more about some of the benefits of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables from the colors of the rainbow:

Red

  • Red color tomatoes contain lycopene, a red pigment that may help with protecting against breast and prostate cancers. Tomatoes are also loaded with antioxidants from vitamins A and C to help protect against cell damage. Leave those tomato skins on and eat raw!
  • In its little and plump ruby red seeds, pomegranate are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, and healthful soluble fiber when you eat the entire seed.
  • Red beets are a good source of vitamin C for fighting the common cold, and betaine for cardiovascular health. Beets have zero fats, are low in calories, and are a great energy booster because they are high in carbohydrates and a natural source of sugar. Are you a newbie to cooking with beets? Here are two beet recipes to get you started: Grilled Beet Salad with Almonds and Dried Cranberries and Beet Chips (these make for a satisfying midday snack).

Green

  • Making its way down the red carpet to our plates is the power-green kale. Highly nutritious and delicious, kale greens are packed with vitamin K, A and C, iron, and antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids. Kale is a fantastic plant-based source of calcium. If you have never tried kale chips, you must make this recipe for Baked Kale Chips, then eat them all!
  • Green apples contain a lot of fiber good for digestive and intestinal health, especially when eaten with the skin on. They are low in fat and help to regulate blood sugar, which is important for individuals with diabetes. If you have a craving for a tart, yet sweet treat, make a few raw caramel apples and munch away!

Purple

Orange and Yellow

  • Orange color vegetables like carrots contain not only vitamins like vitamin C for immune health, but also compounds called carotenoids that aid in maintaining good vision health.
  • Whole or squeezed, lemons have incredible immune-boosting powers, and lemon juice is fantastic as a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Drinking warm lemon water each morning is a great way to wake up and to flush out toxins. What great health benefits! Lemons also contain citric acid, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, bioflavonoids, and pectin.

White 

  • Garlic is not only extremely healthy and tastes fabulous in cooking, but it also acts as a natural health remedy for various ailments, strengthening the immune system and is used in fighting off infections, congestion, and the flu. Garlic is an excellent source of vitamin B6, which is needed to keep a healthy immune system and for new cell growth. Whether you are down with a cold or just want to begin boosting your immune system, try this garlic recipe from One Green Planet: Roasted Garlic, Miso and Greens Soup.

Photo Source: karimian/Flickr



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