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March 3, 2011

Eat a Variety of Colors

Filed under: By Tamra Rosenfeld — Administrator @ 10:12 pm

Tamra Rosenfeld Tamra Rosenfeld

March is National Nutrition Month®, a nutrition education campaign created by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). This year’s theme is “Eat Right with Color”. Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables can provide a wide variety of nutrients and phytochemicals (chemical compounds found naturally in plants) that can protect against disease. The recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables per day is from 7-11 servings. Below are some examples of different colored fruits and vegetables and their health benefits:

Red:

Many red fruits and vegetables can contain lycopene. Lycopene may help reduce risk of several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer.

Examples of some red fruit and vegetables include watermelon, pink grapefruit, tomatoes and tomato products (cooking tomatoes allow lycopene to be absorbed more easily), strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and red grapes.

Orange and Yellow:

Orange and yellow fruit and vegetables contain phytochemicals called carotenoids. Carotenoids can help with vision, immunity, and reducing the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

Examples of orange and yellow fruit and vegetables include sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, squash, oranges, yellow apples, apricot, oranges, and pineapple.

Blue and Purple:

Many blue and purple fruit and vegetables contain Anthocyanins. Anthocyanins act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. They may help reduce risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. Anthocyanins also may improve memory function in aging.

Examples of blue and purple fruit and vegetables include blueberries, blackberries, figs, plums, prunes, purple grapes, eggplant, and purple potatoes.

Green:

Some green vegetables including spinach and dark leafy greens contain lutein which may help reduce risk of age-related eye degeneration. Indoles found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli may help protect against some types of cancer.
Examples of green fruit and vegetables include green apples, artichokes, lettuce, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, avocado, cucumbers, green grapes, kiwi, lime, honeydew melon, peas and zucchini.

White:

Many white fruits and vegetables contain anthoxanthins which may help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and reduce risk of stomach cancer. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are good sources of potassium.

Examples of white fruit and vegetables include bananas, cauliflower, jicama, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes and turnips.

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