Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wellness Wednesday: Eat a Rainbow
As most of you know, it is important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day, but did you know you should choose a variety of colors as well? Each color offers different health benefits and vitamins and within a 2-3 day period you should have at least one serving of every color, preferably eating the rainbow every day. They say that at the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold. I believe that feeling good and having a healthy body is at least as good, probably better, than a pot of gold. (As with most things, check with your doctor if you have concerns. If you take blood thinners, I know you need to limit your intake of vitamin K, found in green, leafy vegetables. There may be other medications/diseases that may require you to carefully choose your foods.)
Here are the color families, their benefits, and some examples.
Blues and Purples: Good for reducing risk of certain cancers, maintaining urinary tract health, memory function, and healthy aging; contain phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and phenolics, currently being studied for their antioxidant and anti-aging benefits.
Blueberries, Blackberries, Raisins, Eggplant, and Purple Cabbage are a few examples
Greens: Good for lowering risk of some cancers, maintaining vision health and strong bones and teeth; contain phytochemicals such as lutein and indoles, which interest researchers because of their potential antioxidant,health-promoting benefits.
Green grapes, Green apples, Avocados, Broccoli, Asparagus, Spinach, Celery are some examples (I personally find this to be the easiest color to find foods in)
White and Browns: Good for lowering some cancer risks, maintaining heart health and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels (will not necessarily lower cholesterol levels); contain phtyochemical known as allicin.
Include Bananas, Dates, Brown Pears, Cauliflower, Garlic, and White Flesh Potatoes.
Yellows and Oranges: Good for lowering certain cancers, maintaining a healthy immune system, and maintaining heart and vision health; contain antioxidants such as vitamin C as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids, two classes of phytochemicals that scientists are studying for their health-promoting potential.
Examples include Cantaloupe, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Yellow corn, and Pumpkin.
Reds: Good for lowering risk of some cancers, urinary tract health, memory function and heart health; contain specific phytochemicals being studied for their health-promoting properties include lycopene and anthocyanins.
Red apples, Cherries, Cranberries, Beets, Red potatoes, and Tomatoes are a few examples.
Visit Fruits & Veggies: More Matters for ideas on how to combine several colors into one yummy dish.