From red and green to purple and orange, there are so many healthy options when it comes to nature’s skittles — fresh fruits and vegetables. So, who out there loves to eat the rainbow? Including a wide selection of fruits and vegetables into your diet will increase the amount and variety of vitamins and minerals that you can benefit from. Such an intake of produce offers health benefits like lowered blood pressure, a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and a decreased risk of various cancers.
With a number of weekend and weekday farmers markets popping up all over, there is really no excuse to not be able to incorporate fresh and organic veggies in your diet. Choose organic over conventionally grown foods by going to a farmers market to get the best deals while shopping for produce that’s surely in season. It is also a good goal to try at least one new market item with each visit. Farmers enjoy talking about their produce and farms, so ask any questions you may have before you buy!
We’ve discussed eating other colors of the rainbow such as green and red colors and the benefits they bring to our bodies. In the spirit of the fall season, let’s take a look at the health benefits of eating orange and yellow color fruits and vegetables.
Orange and yellow color skin and meat are packed with nutrients containing such vitamins and minerals as vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin A, potassium, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, and lycopene. Antioxidants are in abundance in orange and yellow foods along with vitamins, fiber, and phytonutrients that not only help to decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease, but are good for your eyes and skin as well.
Vitamin C. Orange foods contain a ton of much welcomed vitamin C. This antioxidant aids in boosting your immune system, helps to promote collagen formation and rebuilds depleted collagen in skin, and protects against cardiovascular, heart, disease. Have an orange a day for your health!
Beta-carotene is an orange pigment found in a number of plants and fruits like carrots and colorful soil-top and root vegetables. It is the most well known nutrient in orange color foods and is a powerful antioxidant which gives sun-loving fruits and vegetables their bright color. In turn, beta- carotene protects skin from sun damage and potential damage from the sun’s rays. It also serves great purpose for maintaining good eye health and vision. Fun fact: The name beta-carotene is derived from the Latin word for carrot, carota.
Vitamin A is important for night vision and is crucial in the health of your immune system. As an antioxidant, vitamin A can neutralize the damaging free radicals in the body. It is also commonly referred to as retinal, retinol, and retinoic acid.
Following are a few autumn themed orange and yellow color fruits and vegetables:
What would Halloween be without a pile of gourds and jack-o-lanterns on the front porch? But, don’t let your pumpkin carvings go to the waste or compost bin. The bright orange pumpkin flesh is loaded with fiber and essential vitamins and minerals like the ones listed earlier. Its fiber is excellent for your digestive system with just 1 cup of pumpkin puree providing you with over 7 grams of your daily intake of dietary fiber.
Super high in cancer fighting vitamin A! There are two types of persimmons, both very tasty yet very different in shape and texture. The Fuyu persimmon is firm, like an apple, and ripen to a bright healthy orange color when ready to eat. You can eat this entire persimmon, except for the stem and hard leaves. The other type is the Hachiya persimmon. Shaped like a small lantern or giant acorn, this persimmon must be super soft to the touch before you can eat it. Eat by biting right into it or peel a little, then use a spoon to enjoy. Hint: use a grapefruit spoon, has little teeth-like notches all around the head, for easy scooping!
Did you know that beets grow in other colors besides dark red? Yellow or golden beets are great for heart health and are fantastic for kidney cleansing, especially when you juice them. They also decrease the risk of heart disease, various cancers, and diabetes, and can lower blood pressure. Tending to be sweeter than red beets, yellow beets contain good amounts of fiber, iron, potassium, and folic acid.
Have a happy fall, and don’t forget to enjoy eating and celebrate this season’s colorful bounty!
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons