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Eat the Rainbow

by Joni Gerken

Not only is it important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, it's also important to include a variety. An easy way to think about variety is based on colors to get all of the benefits. Phytonutrients give fruits and vegetables their bright colors and each pigment has different health benefits.

Red: These are rich in lycopene which helps rid the body of gene damaging free radicals and has been shown to reduce the risk for some cancers.

Examples: tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, and cherries

Orange / Yellow: These are rich in beta carotene which also helps your body get rid of free radicals, but also helps cells communicate with each other and can prevent heart disease.

Examples: carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, and oranges

Green: These are full of sulforaphane, isocyanate, and indoles which help block the effects of carcinogens to help lower cancer risks.

Examples: spinach, kale, green beans, and broccoli.

Blue / Purple: These contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants believed to delay cellular aging and reduce stroke risk by preventing blood clots.

Examples: blueberries, beets, grapes, cabbage, and figs

White / Brown: These have quercetin and kaempferol which are found to have anti-tumor qualities and also prevent cardiovascular disease.

These are just a few of the benefits of the different color categories of fruits and vegetables. It's fun to mix it up and even try new things!

If you're looking for a fun way to hold yourself to trying to eat the rainbow this month, head to page 11 and take part in our nutrition challenge this month to eat the rainbow!

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