If you are concerned about the health benefits of what you eat, think about the color of your food. I’m not talking about separating out your favorite colors of M&M’s, but paying attention to the colors of the real food that you eat.
Fruits and veggies are the first place to turn for nutrient dense goodness. “Fruits and vegetables come closer than any other category of food to behaving like a fountain of youth. Each one is power-packed with plant-based chemicals, or phytonutrients, that can help to prevent or even reverse one or more chronic, debilitating and often deadly diseases.” – NY Times article.
You can typically create a plate full of colorful fruits and veggies without worrying about overeating or gaining weight. If you choose them in season, they will taste better than anything arriving in a can or bag at your local grocery store. While there are many nutrients in each, most colors stand out for certain health benefits. See the simple chart below to start eating your way towards better health and more energy.
Simple Color Nutritional Chart
Red for Lycopene, a cancer fighter found in tomatoes, cherries, watermelon, and beets.
White/Green for antioxident flavinoids and Allicin, which has anti-tumor properties found in garlic, onions, leeks, celery, asparagus, pears and green grapes.
Yellow/Orange for vitamin C to support the immune system and Carotene for heart and vision health, found in oranges, carrots, yellow pears, lemons, butternut squash and sweet corn.
Blue/Purple for antioxidants to help protect cells from free radicals within the body. Antioxidants also helps to fight off aging, improves memory function, and can reduce the risks of some cancers. They can be found in grapes, blueberries, eggplant, and beets.
Green for cancer-fighting chemicals that can block carcinogens, found in broccoli, collards, brussel sprouts and cabbage. Green colored produce can also help promote stronger bones and teeth.
Diet changes can be challenging, but by focusing on things you can eat, instead of what you can’t or shouldn’t eat, you can start to experiment with new foods and recipes, instead of feeling deprived. If you want to add more fruits and veggies to your diet, start simply by adding one veggie and one fruit to each to each meal. Even if you don’t make any other changes initially, you will began to immediately improve your health. If new recipes or foods feel intimidating, go back to basics. Add one serving of fresh fruit and a serving of steamed veggies to each meal. After a week, you may want to be more adventurous!
If something as a simple as a piece of fruit or a salad can “help to prevent or even reverse one or more chronic, debilitating and often deadly diseases”, what do you have to lose by giving it a shot? It almost seems irresponsible not to put it to the test. If you want to consider vegetarianism, check out Becoming Vegetarian and 25 Tips for Newbie Vegetarians. If you are trying to lose or maintain weight or just want to feel and be better, eat less and eat colorful, real food.