Eat The Rainbow for Better Health
You might have heard food experts give the advice that we should eat the rainbow – meaning that there should be a variety of colors on your plate. A balanced diet is important because our body needs proper nutrition to work effectively. Without good nutrition, we are more susceptible to disease, infection, fatigue, and poor performance.
Children with a poor diet run the risk of growth and developmental problems and poor academic performance, and bad eating habits can persist for the rest of their lives. Lack of physical activity and poor diet are contributing to rising levels of obesity and diabetes in America.
A colorful plate means different types of nutrients and a more balanced diet. What are the five colors that should always be on your plate and why? We break it down for you.
The natural plant pigment chlorophyll gives fruits and vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocado and kiwi their signature green hue. Green fruits and vegetables pack in vitamin K, folic acid and potassium, and are good for your eyes, bones and teeth.
It is the phytochemical lycopene that is responsible for the red color in fruits and veggies like tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon and pink grapefruit. Lycopene has been associated with a decreased risk of cancer, heart disease and even certain eye disorders.
The yellow/orange group is rich in beta carotene and vitamin C and includes fruits and vegetables like carrots, mangos, pumpkins, cantaloupe, winter squash, sweet potatoes and peppers. In the body, beta carotene converts into vitamin A, which is good for vision and eye health, healthy skin and an overall strong immune system.Beta carotene is also believed to help prevent memory loss and to protect the skin from sun damage.
A lack of color doesn’t always mean a lack of nutrients. In fact, the largest class of phytochemicals are the flavonoids which tend to be colorless – think pears, bananas, and cauliflower. Flavanoids have been associated with reduced risk of a variety of diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s.
Blue and purple vegetables offer a healthy dose of vitamin C, potassium and folate. The darker the hue in blue and purple fruits and vegetables, the higher the phytochemical concentration.