You know it’s important to eat your greens, but what about your reds, your blues and even your purple and orange? Eating a broad range of fruits and vegetables from the full color spectrum helps ensure proper nutrition and can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart and cancer.
Tip: Savor a rainbow of healthy foods to help your body bounce back stronger from exercise.
Get ready to color your plate, read the benefits of my top color picks and brighten up your day!
Orange found in carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and pumpkins contains beta carotene which your body converts to vitamin A. This vitamin supports vision health, immunity and production of red blood cells which transports oxygen throughout your body giving you more energy. These vegetables are heart healthy lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. So there maybe something to that “eat your carrots” that your parents always told you to do.
Purple eggplant is ranked among the top 10 vegetables for antioxidants thanks to a high concentration of phenolic compound, one of the most potent free radical scavengers. Eggplant provides fiber for digestive support, heart healthy potassium, bone-building vitamin K and improves absorption of minerals. This vegetable has been known to also prevent breast, liver and lung cancers.
Green vegetables such as spinach, chard, kale and collard greens are ideal for weight management as they are low in calories. Greens are a major source of iron and calcium plus are helpful in reducing the risk of mouth, throat and stomach cancer. This vegetable also contains the lutein antioxidant which works to keep your body young, heart healthy and protects against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Blue as in blueberries contains the powerful anti-inflammatory anthocyanins which make the blue color and are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E and flavonoids. Anthocyanins help keep the blood pumping smoothly, prevent hardening of the arteries and lower blood sugar levels. It has also been linked to lower the risk of age-related degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Red tomatoes along with watermelons and papayas are packed with lycopene which has twice the antioxidant power of beta carotene. Without antioxidants, free radicals damage your cells through oxidation, in the same way oxidizing rust damages metal thereby advancing your body’s aging process. Lycopene has also been linked to lower the risk of cancers in the lung, prostate and stomach. Cooked tomatoes are preferable providing over six times the lycopene than eating fresh tomatoes.
Tip: Add 1 extra serving/day of green leafy vegetables to lower your risk of diabetes by 9 percent.
List of resources, all worth checking out.
Fruit Salad Magic, Turn fruit into a salad and watch it disappear. Article from WebMD
My Plate, Get ready to color your plate from HealthyChildren.org
Leafy Greens, Guide to a Healthy Kitchen from WebMD
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Cheers to a Healthy Day!
Lou Ann Donovan