A Taste of the RainbowWritten By MissFIT Becky
Did you get your red today? What about your blue?
I’m not talking about artificial food dyes that are (unfortunately) found in the lists of many food ingredients. I’m talking about THE REAL DEAL- fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are some of nature’s best eye-catching, disease preventing, immune boosting foods.
Fruits and vegetables contain thousands of “phytonutrients.” Phytonutrients are natures own way of fighting off disease and offering us vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy (and we repay them by saying “yuck” many times!). While it’s taken me many years to learn to enjoy and appreciate veggies I now think that they are pretty awesome. As I’ve learned to cook over the past several years, I can honestly say that I have found some super yummy ways to delight in some of nature’s most nutritious foods.
Not only do fruit and veggies taste good to me (they didn’t’ used to!) but I often look at my them and think food is beautiful! I know, I know…I say this a lot, but it’s true and I want so badly for everyone to notice too!
When deciding what to eat, it is important to get a variety of fruits and veggies. Variety helps ensure we then get all the necessary nutrients our bodies should have.
A simple way to be sure our bodies are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals is to “eat the rainbow.” It’s also a very aesthetically pleasing way to eat…as it should be! Food is full of color and the different colors give us clues as to they types of nutrients we are getting from that particular food. My picture is of a recent dish I made that included tomatoes, red peppers, yellow zucchini, broccoli and purple onions over a whole wheat pasta that completes my rainbow-colored dish full of a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Here is a simple rundown of the colors of fruit and veggies and vitamins or minerals we receive from each color:
Red: Reds offer lycopene, Beta Carotene and Vitamin C. Lycopene, specifically, is a heck of an antioxidant and has been linked to the reduction of certain cancers, like prostate.
Orange or Deep yellow: Contains carotenoids. These nutrients have been shown to help reduce macular degeneration, LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure.
Dark Green: Here we have our friend, lutein again. Fiber, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium and beta-carotene are a few of the nutrients in dark green vegetables and fruits. These nutrients may help to reduce cancer, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, help keep things normal with our digestive tracts as well as boost our immune system.
Blue or Dark Purple: These plants contain natural pigments called anthocyanins. They are super powerful antioxidants that help to protect our cells. Again, studies have found links to improved memory and healthy aging as well as reduced risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
White: These guys are colored by pigments called anthoxanthins. As many of the other previous mentioned phytonutrients, white veggies and fruits may help to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, reduce cancer (like stomach) and heart disease. And, some of these fruits or veggies contain higher levels of the mineral potassium, like potatoes and bananas.
So, aim for eating the rainbow each day to be sure your body is receiving what it deserves- a natural boost of vitamins and minerals that promotes a healthy, energetic body.
And, my hope is that we can stop saying “Yuck!” and learn to say “Thank you. Well done, body. Here is the food you deserve.”
Becky NowakCertified personal trainer for the past 9 years. Married 8 years. Working for MissFIT 7 years. Mom for 2 years, Precision Nutrition certified, and a lifetime lover of all things wellness! Find out More >
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