Growing up you may have been told to eat your greens, but what about your reds, oranges, blues and whites? By putting something of every color on your plate or in your lunch bag, you are more likely to eat 5 servings of vegetables and fruits every day. Just think: 1 cup of dark, leafy GREENS with WHITE cauliflower, 1/2 cup of RED tomotoes, 1/4 cup of ORANGE carrots, 1/2 of YELLOW apricots, and 1/2 cup of BLUEberries. There you have 5 A Day! The more reds, oranges, greens, whites and blues you see on your plate, the more health promoting properties you are also getting from your vegetable and fruit choices. Nutrition research shows that colorful vegetables and fruits contain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that your body needs to promote health and help you feel great. Here are the specifics….
Red Hot & Healthy: add REDS and DARK PINKS and you are adding powerful antioxidants called lycopene and anthocyanins. Diets rich in these nutrients are being studied for their ability to fight heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as skin, breast and prostate cancers.
Examples of Red Hot & Healthy Reds:
Red Apples, Cherries, Cranberries, Red Grapes, Pink/Red Grapefruit, Pomegranates, Raspberries, Strawberries, Watermelon, Beets, Red Peppers, Radishes, Red Onions, Red Potatoes, Rhubarb, and Tomatoes
Powerful Antioxidants: add ORANGE and YELLOWS and you add varying amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C as well as beta -carotenoids (vitamin A), vitamin C & E, folate (vitamin B) and bioflavonoids, two classes of phytochemicals that scientists are studying for their health-promoting potential to help maintain good vision & strong bones, teeth, & skin; reducing the risk for cancer & heart attacks and boosting immunity
Examples of Powerful Antixidant Yellows & Orange :
Yellow Apples, Apricots, Cantaloupe, Cape Gooseberries, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mangoes, Nectarines, Oranges, Papayas, Peaches, Persimmons, Pineapples, Yellow watermelon, Yellow beets, Butternut squash, Carrots, Yellow peppers, Yellow potatoes, Pumpkin, Yellow summer/winter squash, Sweet corn, Sweet potatoes, Yellow tomatoes
Whites for Wellness: WHITE, TAN, and Brown fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of phytochemicals of interest to scientists. These include allicin, found in the onion family. Research is being conducted on allicin to learn how it may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and increase the body’s ability to fight infections and cancer. Indoles and sulfaforaphanes and phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower may also inhibit cancer growth.
Examples of Whites for Wellness include:
Bananas, Brown pear, Dates, White peaches, Cauliflower, Garlic, Ginger, Jicama, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes (white flesh), Shallots, Turnips, and White corn
Beat the Effects of Aging: by adding BLUES and PURPLES not only do you add beautiful shades of tranquility and richness to your plate, they add healthenhancing flavonoids, phytochemicals and antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, vitamin C, folic acid and polyphenols. These nutrients help your body defend against cancer, reduce the risk of age-related memory loss, help control high blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes complications and heart attacks.
Examples of Beat the Effects of Aging Blues & Purples include:
Blackberries, Blueberries, Black currants, Dried plums, Elderberries, Purple figs, Purple grapes, Plums, Raisins, Purple asparagus, Purple cabbage, Purple carrots, Eggplant, Purple peppers, Black salsify
Go Green…Go Healthy: adding GREEN fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of potent phytochemicals such as lutein and indoles, which interest researchers because of their potential antioxidant, health-promoting benefits. These nutrients protect your eyes, and may reduce the risk of cancerous tumors.
Examples of Go Green… Go Healthy Greens include:
Avocados, Green apples, Green grapes, Honeydew, Kiwifruit, Limes, Green pears, Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus ,Broccoflower, Broccoli, Broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, Green beans, Green cabbage, Celery, Chayote squash, Cucumbers, Endive, Leafy greens, Leeks, Lettuce, Green onion, Okra, Peas, Green pepper, Sno Peas, Sugar snap peas, Spinach, Watercress, Zucchini
When you’re shopping, planning your meals or dining out, think color. Your local Farmers’ Market is a great resource for finding colorful fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables that promote healthy living.
** this information is compiled from http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/healthy/5_Day/5_day_color_way.pdf and http://www.iandtproduce.com/healthy.htm