Now, it would be a tad redundant and a pinch of “Captain-Obvious” of me to tell you eating fruits and veggies is good for your waistline, but do you know how the different colors react with your body?
The pigments, called “lycopene” or “anthocyanins,” in food that make up their color have different health benefits. Everyone knows you drink OJ to amp up your vitamin C when you are sick, but did it ever occur to you that you could get the same amount of vitamin C from a sweet potato?
The color guide below indicates what vitamins and nutrients are the densest in what color and what fruits and vegetables fall in that category. (Some foods overlap)
ORANGE AND YELLOW– This pigment belongs to the “carotenoids,” easy to remember because it sounds like carrot! Carotenoids are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C and the nutrient folate. These are most popularly known for maintaining healthy eyes, improving immune system function, reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and can lower the risk of birth defects.
Examples include: cantaloupe, mangoes, lemons, tangerines, nectarines, oranges, grapefruit, papayas, apricots, peaches, pears, pineapple, yellow apples, yellow peppers, carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin, corn, sweet potatoes.
RED– This pigment is classified as the “lycopene” or “anthocyanins” category. This group is the most responsible for being rich in antioxidants which protect cells from damage, protect our heart and help fight several types of cancers.
Examples include: raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, read apples, grapefruit, grapes, pomegranates, watermelon, rhubarb, tomatoes, beets, red peppers, cabbage, radishes and red potatoes
BLUE AND PURPLE– This pigment is dedicated to the “anthocyanins,” also a powerhouse for antioxidants. Nosh on these fine foods to protect your body against diseases and brain function.
Examples include: Raisins, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, plums, figs, prunes, and eggplant
GREEN– This pigment is responsible for “chlorophyll.” Some of these foods also contain “lutein,” which is famous for protecting your sight. Green foods will help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, protect against free-radicals, regulate digestion, boost the immune system, support retinal health and vision and reduce cancer risk.
Examples include: Green apples, grapes, melon, kiwi, limes, broccoli, avocados, green peppers, spinach, asparagus, zucchini, bussels sprouts, lettuce, artichokes, cucumbers, green beans, peas and green onions
I love to eat, cook and blog about my adventures in maintaining a healthy lifestyle from college and beyond. Struggling (for the first time in my life) to gain control of my weight after my freshman year, I researched and learned the fundamentals of healthy living. Join me at www.dishinaboutnutrition.com where I offer my most sound advice, my favorite recipes and my all around passion for life!