Eating “across the rainbow”

Edible RainbowEating “across the rainbow” is vital for a healthy life and it is recommended by nutritionists that everyone should eat something from each color range every day. Each color has its own unique health components and by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, you’re guaranteed a diverse amount of essential vitamins and minerals and one can get the best all-around health benefits. Each different color fruit and vegetables contains unique health components that are essential to our health.

Fruits and vegetables are very important to our health because they are whole foods, created by nature, that are rich in a large amount of nutrients. The processed foods that we so commonly eat, can never compare to the health benefits provided by fruits or vegetables which have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in. Eating plenty of healthy vegetables and fruits helps prevent heart disease and strokes, diverticulitis, control your blood pressure, prevent some types of cancers, and guards against cataract and macular degeneration or vision loss. Different colors indicate different nutrient profiles, so focus on getting a little of each color in your diet every day to maximize the nutritional benefits. Fruits and vegetables generally contain little fat, cholesterol or sodium and provide complex carbohydrates, fiber and nutrients and most are low in calories.

Red:

Beets, blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, guava, papaya, pink/red grapefruit, pomegranates, radicchio, radishes, raspberries, red apples, red bell peppers, red chili peppers, red grapes, red onions, red pears, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon.

Red fruits and vegetables are likely to be rich in the antioxidants lycopene, ellagic acid, Quercetin, Hesperidin and anthocyanins.  These nutrients reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce tumor growth and LDL cholesterol levels, scavenge harmful free-radicals, and support join tissue in arthritis cases. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties and the flesh of a watermelon contains key antioxidants, while its seeds are rich in vitamin E, essential fats, selenium and zinc. Strawberries are rich in coumarins, which prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the body and also have vitamin C and phenols, which have strong antioxidant properties as well.  A pomegranate, also known as “jewel of winter” has been well acclaimed for its disease fighting antioxidant properties.

Orange and Yellow:

Apricots, butternut squash, cantaloupe, cape gooseberries, carrots, golden kiwifruit, grapefruit, lemon, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, persimmons, pineapples, pumpkin, rutabagas, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, tangerines, yellow apples, yellow beets, yellow figs, yellow pears, yellow peppers, yellow potatoes, yellow summer squash, yellow tomatoes, yellow watermelon, yellow winter squash.

FoodRainbow-850x400Most orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, a nutrient that not only improves night vision, but also helps keep your skin, teeth and bones healthy. They also contain folate, an antioxidant that prevents neural tube defects in unborn infants. A 2-cup serving of sliced cantaloupe provides 541 micrograms of vitamin A, more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake of 500 micrograms, and 67 of the 320 micrograms of folate you need each day. They also contain zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. These nutrients reduce age-related macular degeneration and the risk of prostate cancer, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, fight harmful free radicals, encourage alkaline balance, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones.

Orange fruits and vegetable, such as carrots, are chock-full of beta carotene, and a single carrot will supply your day’s requirement of vitamin A. They have protective action against excess radiation and ultra-violet rays and also help increase your red blood cell levels. Carrots contain B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium and potassium. Oranges, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, apricots, and mangoes are all are rich in beta-carotene as well as vitamin C and sweet potatoes are also a rich source of vitamin E. Papaya when compared to other fruit has more carotene and has a comparatively low calorie count. Papaya is also fairly high vitamin C and the enzyme papain, which is present in papaya, is a good aid to digestion. It is the ideal food for invalids because the flesh is easy to chew and swallow.

Yellow fruits and vegetables such as corn, yellow peppers, turmeric and mustard all contain circumin, a potent anti-inflammatory and painkiller. Concentrated circumin has been found to reduce pain in arthritis patients as effectively as pharmaceutical drugs. Eating the foods or condiments three times a day can have a mild anti-inflammatory effect. Bananas are the main source of dietary potassium used in nerve impulses and a good source of energy. Lemons and grapefruit contain high levels of vitamin C, one of the most powerful immune-boosting antioxidants. Limes have powerful anti-septic properties and are great source of bio-flavonoids and B Vitamins.

Green:

Artichokes, arugula, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, celery, chayote squash, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers, endive, green apples, green beans, green cabbage, green grapes, green onion, green pears, green peppers, honeydew, kiwifruit, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, limes, okra, peas, snow peas, spinach, sugar snap peas, watercress, zucchini.

Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion time, support retinal health and vision, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost immune system activity. Broccoli is rich in the groups of phytochemicals that are associated with reduced cancer risk. It is a good source of vitamins A and C (when raw or only slightly cooked) potassium, and fiber. Broccoli is also rich in iron, folic acid, calcium and riboflavin. It also contains large amounts of beta-carotene, which is important antioxidant. Spinach is a rich source of iron, and vitamins and contains substances called xanthophyll’s, such as lutein, important for healthy eyes.  Avocados are packed with vitamin C, fiber, potassium and vitamin E. Wheatgrass helps proper cell function and digestion and green tea contains high quantities of polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that have been shown in numerous studies to fight viruses, slow ageing, and have a beneficial effect on health.

Blue:

Black currants, blackberries, black cherries, blueberries, dried plums, eggplant, elderberries, grapes, mulberries, plums, pomegranates, prunes, purple Belgian endive, purple potatoes, purple asparagus, purple cabbage, purple carrots, purple figs, purple grapes, purple peppers, radicchio, raisins, turnips.

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins, natural plant pigments with powerful antioxidant properties that may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. They also contain flavonoids and ellagic acid, compounds that may destroy cancer cells, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. The anthocyanins and ellagic acid in blueberries have been shown to fight cancer cells in the lungs, stomach, breasts and pancreas. Anthocyanins and ellagic acid also show anti-inflammatory properties that may prevent cancers of the esophagus and colon. Blue and purple fruits and vegetables also contain nutrients which include lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, and quercetin. Similar to the previous nutrients, these nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, act as an anti-carcinogens in the digestive tract, and limit the activity of cancer cells.

Red Cabbage is rich in beta-carotene, to fight a range of age-related diseases and cancers. Blackberries, black grapes, bilberries, blackcurrants and blueberries, are rich in flavonoids, a very powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents so one should eat berries when available or supplement them with concentrated extracts. Beetroot is a rich source of folic acid, essential for pregnant women to reduce the risk of spina bifida and other neural-tube defects. Cherries are rich in anthocyanidins, a type of bioflavinoid, which fight cancer and help combat types of arthritis and gout.

White:

Asian pears, bananas, brown pears, cauliflower, coconut, dates, garlic, ginger, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, kohlrabi, lychee, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, turnips, white corn, white nectarines, white peaches.

White fruits and vegetables are high in dietary fiber, helping to protect you from high cholesterol, and antioxidant-rich flavonoids, such as uuercetin, which is abundant in apples and pears. They may also lower your risk of stroke and numerous studies found that people with a high intake of white fruits and vegetables had over a 50 percent lower risk of stroke. They contain nutrients such as beta-glucans, EGCG, SDG, and lignin’s that provide powerful immune boosting activity. These nutrients also activate natural killer B and T cells, reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers, and balance hormone levels, reducing the risk of hormone-related cancers.

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