Published by Claudia Giunta.
Have you ever heard the tip, “Eat the rainbow?” We’re not talking about Skittles, M&Ms, and other artificially flavored foods. This tip refers to the fact that our bodies thrive on a rainbow (think colored variety) of nutrients. Fruits and vegetables supply a variety of vitamins and minerals to the diet and are sources of phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. Eating a diverse range of colorful foods can be an easy way to help supply your body with the nutrients it needs to develop and grow.
The varied, balanced diet supported by fruits and vegetables gives your body the nutrition it needs to work properly and fight against diseases and illnesses. No matter your age, remembering to “eat the rainbow” is a healthy reminder to add diversity to your diet.
Here are a few examples of what science says to expect when you eat enough fruits and vegetables:
The colors in fruits and vegetables are created by specific phytonutrients, natural compounds that give plants their rich colors, tastes, and aromas. Phytonutrients also strengthen a plant’s immune system, protecting the plant from diseases. This means that when we eat plant food, phytonutrients can help protect us from chronic diseases and keep our bodies working as they should. With phytonutrients, fruits and vegetables may also be protective against certain types of cancer.
Summer may mean lots of fresh fruit on the table and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday may help bring a wide spread of veggies to your plate. However, chances are, you may not be getting the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables all year long. In fact, nine in ten Americans don’t. Depending on age and sex, the CDC’s dietary guidelines recommend that adults eat at least 1.5-2 cups of fruit per day and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day.
So, where do you get started ensuring you are reaching that recommended level? Try to include as many plant-based colors in your diet (both main meals and snacks). A balance of colors is important because each color provides a unique health benefit. A notable tip is that the colorful skins of your foods contain the richest source of phytonutrients, so avoid peeling your apples and eggplants.
Reaching approximately 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day may seem difficult, but with these tips, you’ll achieve a balanced, colored diet:
What does each color add to your diet? Below is a breakdown of fruits and vegetables sorted by color with the phytonutrients they contain and which foods you’ll find them in.
Red: contains anti-inflammatory properties and is an important source of lycopene which may protect against some cancers as well as heart and lung disease.
Found in: strawberries, apples, cranberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cherries, beets, watermelon, red peppers, red onions, red grapes, and pomegranates.
Orange and yellow: contains antioxidants for fat-soluble tissue, a great source of vitamin C, A, and potassium, boosts the immune system, and enhances vision.
Found in: bananas, pineapple, carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, yellow peppers, oranges, mango, pumpkin, corn, cantaloupe, and apricots.
Green: plays a role in healthy circulation, maintains vision health, and strong bones and teeth. The phytonutrients in green foods also have a high concentration of fiber and contain cancer-blocking chemicals that inhibit the action of carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds).
Found in: spinach, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, asparagus, kiwi, avocados, collard greens, green tea, and green herbs.
Blue and purple: contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that may delay cellular aging and block the formation of blood clots.
Found in: blueberries, purple grapes, raisins, eggplant, plums, figs, and prunes.
The more color and variety in your fruit and veggie intake the better. If you are unsure if you are absorbing nutrients from your diet and supplementation, Nova Vita Wellness Centers offer whole body lab panels as well as micronutrient lab panels to identify deficiencies. Our IV vitamin infusions and boosters will help replenish low or lost nutrients. Nova Vita Wellness Centers healthcare professionals are excited to meet you and discuss your health goals as well as how our customized wellness solutions can guide you down a path to well-being. All of our services are backed by science and we will help you choose the best solution for your health needs. Contact us today to get started on your journey to a healthier and happier you.