We all know that colorful fruits and vegetables are a key part of a healthy diet, but are you eating enough? Different fruits and veggies carry different health benefits, so it’s important to make sure you’re putting a variety of produce on your plate.
The best way to make sure you’re getting all the health benefits from your 5-a-day is to focus on the colors you consume. If your usual meals don’t feature vibrant hues, you’re missing out on a whole host of nutrients that other foods have to offer. Eating by color is a great way to make sure you’re getting the maximum nutrition from a diet that includes plenty of fruit and veggies. This mini guide to eating by color will seriously brighten up your life – and plate!
Most fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants and fiber, making them a staple in any diet. But, depending on the shade of the food, the health benefits differ. To get the most out of your rainbow of fruits and vegetables, follow these steps:
- Eat at least one serving from each of the five color groups per day.
- Eat around three colors at every meal.
- Eat at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day.
Now, for the color groups:
Red fruits and vegetables are full of powerful antioxidants such as lycopene, the plant pigment that gives strawberries and cherries their bright shade. Lycopene is also great for your body, as it keeps your heart healthy, your memory sharp, and even helps prevent some types of cancer.
Examples of red fruits and vegetables include strawberries, cherries, cranberries, pomegranates, tomatoes, beets, red peppers, and radishes.
If you want to keep the eye-doctor happy, make sure there is yellow and orange on your plate. Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are great sources of Vitamin A, which is extremely important for eye-health! Vitamin A also leads to healthy skin and strong bones.
Examples of yellow and orange fruits and vegetables include pineapple, mangoes, oranges, carrots, yellow peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash.
When it comes to your meal-plan, green means go! Green fruits and vegetables have high levels of natural plant pigments, which makes their green shade extra bright. When added to a balanced diet, these plant pigments, which include lutein and indoles, can help prevent many types of cancer and heart disease.
Examples of green fruits and vegetables include kiwi, limes, pears, green apples, avocados, celery, kale, and broccoli.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are full of anthocyanins and other antioxidants that improve circulation and support heart and bone health. When it comes to anthocyanins, the darker the hue of the food, the stronger these antioxidants are. That means blue and purple foods pack a powerful punch!
Examples of blue/purple fruits and vegetables include blueberries, blackberries, plums, purple grapes, prunes, figs, eggplants, and purple cabbage.
While eating by color embraces all the brightest shades of the rainbow, white is an important color group for your diet too! White fruits and vegetables are great for fighting off colds, because they are packed with nutrients like Vitamin C, which helps your immune system stay strong.
Examples of white fruits and vegetables include bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, onions, jicama, parsnips and potatoes.