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The Power of Eating in Color

Written by: Danielle Christy, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Only one in ten adults is getting enough fruits and vegetables a day. Are you apart of that percentage? Eating more fruit and vegetables can help reduce your risk for chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Whole fruits and veggies contain fiber, a key nutrient that is important for keeping your gut healthy, which can reduce your risk for autoimmune diseases, fight off pathogens, infections and even improve your mood.

The colors we see in our fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods, actually represent really powerful, important nutrients that are present. Phytonutrients essentially help us to prevent and heal from disease. The best way to determine which phytonutrients we’re getting is to use the color of the fruit or vegetable we’re eating. Meaning, if we’re always just eating one color, we are only getting those nutrients. Therefore, the more your overall diet resembles the rainbow, the more nutrients you're getting overall! It’s a simple way to look at your shopping list, grocery cart, and weekly meals to gauge what colors you're getting and realize what I am missing. We eat with our eyes first. The more colors you incorporate daily, the more your body will thank you.


Red foods: Red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, red apples, beets, red lentils, kidney beans, red rice, pomegranate, cranberries


Red Food Benefits: Anti-aging properties, improved heart health, and protection against breast and prostate cancers. The red foods in your diet are great sources of antioxidants. The phytonutrients present are flavonoids or carotenoids.


Both of these phytonutrients have been shown to help prevent sun damage when consumed consistently. Additionally, their antioxidant status means they’re very anti-inflammatory, which can help prevent chronic diseases and improve heart health.


Orange foods: Carrots, orange peppers, butternut squash, pumpkin, oranges, nectarines, peaches, cantaloupe, mango, papaya, cantaloupe, winter squash


Orange Food Benefits: Improve eyesight. Orange fruits and vegetables have nutrients that the body converts these compounds into the active form of vitamin A, keeping your eyes, bones and immune system healthy. These phytochemicals also operate as antioxidants, sweeping up disease-promoting free radicals.

Yellow foods: Banana, yellow peppers, summer squash, delicata squash, yellow apples, lemon, pineapple, corn, turmeric


Yellow Food Benefits: Cancer prevention, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties Curcuminoids are found in yellow fruits and vegetables.


They’re the phytonutrients responsible for that potent bright yellow color found in turmeric as well as all the other yellow fruits and vegetables.


Because of their anti-cancer, microbial, and inflammatory properties, these yellow food items have been shown to help to heal those with Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and even diabetes.


Green foods: Leafy greens, green peppers, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, brussels sprouts, green cabbage, asparagus, green apples, cucumbers, kolrababi, herbs.


Green Food Benefits: Eating plenty of greens increases your fiber intake, which supports your digestion daily. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, provide compounds called indoles and isothiocyanates, which may help prevent cancer by amping up the production of enzymes that clear toxins from the body. Again, antioxidants are abundant here, which help to ward off disease or prevent disease in the first place.


Blue and purple foods: blueberries, grapes, blackberries, red cabbage, purple carrots, eggplant, purple potatoes, figs, plums, purple cauliflower, red leaf lettuce, purple peppers, red kale, raisins, purple cabbage, radishes.


Blue and Purple Food Benefits: Improve heart health and cancer prevention. The blue and purple colors you see in an abundance of plant-foods are likely due to the flavonoids present. These have been studied over the years in association with coronary heart disease prevention and anticancer activity. Adding more blue and purple food items to your diet can help improve your heart health and reduce your chances of developing certain types of cancer.


Brown and white foods: Ground flax, lentils, jicama, ginger, garlic, onions, chickpeas, legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, Daikon Radish, potatoes, parsnips


White and Brown Food Benefits: Strengthen bones and reduce menopausal symptoms. The phytonutrients lignan is present in many brown/white food items. Lignans have been shown to help reduce the chances of osteoporosis development over time.


Not only that, but their antioxidant properties have shown that they may help to reduce heart health, cancer prevention, immunity boosts, digestive tract health, and metabolism.


Some tips and ways to add more colors into your day:

  • Keep your favorite fruits and vegetables on hand and at eye level in the fridge or a bowl on the kitchen counter.

  • Add one to two new fruits or vegetables to your list a week and add them to your favorite meals.

  • Take advantage of produce that comes in multiple colors carrots, peppers, apples, etc., offer different nutrients for each color.

  • Head to the freezer section and get fruits and vegetables but make sure it's only the produce you are buying and there are no added ingredients.

  • Making “eat the rainbow” a fun and enjoyable process and habit for the entire family uses all your senses and brings the color and love back into the kitchen.


For more information, follow me on Instagram and visit my website!


 

Danielle Christy, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Danielle Christy is a holistic health coach and self-taught personal chef dedicated to helping families and people around the world stop feeling overwhelmed with healthy cooking by showing and coaching them on how to stock their kitchens with healthy ingredients, meal plan and get back to having family meals again. Danielle holds a BA in Hospitality from Northern Arizona University and Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She has helped families of all shapes and sizes create and establish a concrete strategy to ultimate health through learning what individually works for them and using whole real food as the medicine of life.

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