Have you ever heard the expression “Eat a rainbow”? It refers to the wide range of colors we see in our favorite fruits and vegetables and what those colors mean for our health. Each different shade of red, orange, yellow, green, and even purple and blue comes from different nutrients found naturally in fresh produce—and those nutrients provide numerous benefits for the whole body.
As we celebrate Fruit & Veggies—More Matters® Month, here is a quick list to help you put a little more color on your plate. Whenever possible, stick to low-sugar fruits and non-starchy vegetables for optimal health.
Red: Tomatoes and watermelon are both rich in lycopene, phytoene and phytofluene, which promote healthy cholesterol and blood pressure to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Red-Purple: Red grapes, strawberries, cherries, pomegranates and raspberries contain natural compounds called anthocyanins, ellagic acid and flavonoids, which support heart health and metabolism.
Orange: Squash, mangoes, apricots, carrots and pumpkins contain alpha and beta carotenoids (antioxidants that promote overall health)—not to mention plenty of vitamin A for healthy vision, vitamin C for immune health, and potassium and iron.
Orange-Yellow: Oranges, tangerines and other citrus fruits contain bioflavonoids, which support heart health, along with plenty of essential vitamin C for healthy skin, eyes and immune function.
Green-Yellow: Avocado, spinach, green beans, mustard greens and collard greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, natural compounds that promote heart and eye health.
Green: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and bok choy contain glucosinolates, isocyothianates, and indole-3 carbinol, which have powerful antioxidant properties.
White-Green: Garlic and onions contain allyl sulfides, which support healthy cells, bones, blood circulation, and immune function.
And don’t forget about fiber! Fresh fruits and veggies are chock full of dietary fiber, which has been shown to support healthy digestion, immune function, heart health, and more, so be sure to spend a few extra minutes in the produce aisle the next time you head to the market. Your body and your health will thank you!