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Eat The Rainbow & Boost Your Nutrition

If you’ve given up on your resolution to eat better this year, never fear. It’s Nutrition Health Month and we’re providing you with an easy way to reset your goal. Instead of counting calories or jumping on the latest food fad do this instead. Think about the color of the foods you eat (not artificially colored candy and drinks) that are grown by our precious farmers . . . or by you in your backyard. 

When you eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, you ingest a natural pharmacy of nutrients that boost your immune system and help support various aspects of your health. Eating fresh foods also helps you maintain a healthy weight, increase your intake of fiber and water, and awaken your taste buds so that you naturally want to eat more healthfully. 

Fill your plate with colorful fruits and veggies and before you know it, you’ll knock on wood that you were healthier in 2024.

How Eating The Rainbow Can Boost Your Health

You’ve heard a million times that you should eat at least 5 to 7 fruits and vegetables a day. These foods contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. They also contain phytonutrients — compounds that give plants their color, flavor and aromas. Phytonutrients protect the plant from disease, insects, excessive sun, and environmental toxins. And they are also protective to humans.

Research indicates that the regular consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with supporting healthy aging and various aspects of health.1

For instance, pomegranate contains the phytochemical called ellagitannins which can be converted by intestinal microbes into urolithin A which has a lifespan prolonging effect in laboratory animals, and health promoting effects in humans.2

Let’s take a look at other phytonutrients found in the rainbow of fruits and vegetables.

Red

red fruits and vegetables

Lycopene is a carotenoid that has been touted for its ability to scavenge free radicals that can wreak havoc in the body by causing inflammation and disease. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, watermelon, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, red peppers, and red onions. It becomes even more bio-available to the body when tomatoes are cooked with olive oil, so pour on the tomato sauce!3

Orange and Yellow

Alpha- and beta-carotene are carotenoids found in the orange fruits and veggies. They lower inflammation, boost immunity and promote healthy growth and development. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the yellow fruits and vegetables and are important for supporting eye health since they absorb damaging blue light that enters the eye. These carotenoids are found in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, yellow peppers, oranges, bananas, pineapple, tangerines, mango, apricots, butternut, acorn and yellow squash, peaches, cantaloupe, and corn.4

Green

Sulforaphane, isothiocyanates, and the indoles —a chemical found in the following vegetables— support heart health. They’re found in green, leafy veggies like spinach, kale, cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, as well as avocados, asparagus, artichokes, green tea, and green herbs.5

Blue and Purple

Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that are believed to postpone cellular aging, and support cognitive function and blood flow throughout the body. They’re found in blueberries, blackberries, Concord grapes, raisins, purple cabbage, eggplant, plums, figs, prunes, and lavender.4

White and Brown

brown and white vegetables

Antioxidant flavonoids including quercetin, kaempferol and allicin are found in onions, cauliflower, garlic, leeks, parsnips, daikon radish, and mushrooms.

Food provides us with the energy and nutrition we need to survive. Delicious healthy foods also provide us with one of the joys of life: taste. The next time you plan a meal, think of decorating your plate with a rainbow. And the next time you reach for a snack, choose a fruit or veggie instead of a processed cracker, chip or pastry. Your taste buds will thank you, and so will your immune system, metabolism and cells. 

Healthy Colorful Snacks

•    Hummus with celery, carrot sticks & Bell pepper slices
•    Turkey slices wrapped around raw veggies 
•    Sliced apple with almond butter, peanut butter, or tahini
•    Small handful of nuts—almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds with an apple
•    Bean tacos or tortillas, stuffed with tomatoes, greens, avocado, shredded carrots, Bell pepper, salsa
•    ½ cup of cottage cheese with berries (or fruit of your choice), or chopped raw veggies
•    Sweet potato topped with sunflower seeds and/or yogurt or cottage cheese
•    Smoothie made with greens of your choice, carrot, apple, celery, and grated ginger

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