The Benefits of a Rainbow

We all want to live longer, healthier lives, and perhaps the solution can be found at the end of the rainbow.

rainbowThe phrase “eat the rainbow” has been coined to encourage the intake of a variety of fruits and vegetables. All produce is not created equal, and it requires a diverse diet to provide us with the nutrients we need to increase health and prevent disease.

Red

Red fruits and vegetables are colored by the natural plant pigments lycopene and anthocyanin. Foods such as red bell peppers, cherries, rhubarb and beets are providing more than great flavor, as they contain vitamins A and C, manganese and fiber.

The lycopene that comes from foods such as tomatoes, watermelon and red grapefruit has been linked to a decrease in some cancers and heart disease.

Orange/Yellow

Squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches and cantaloupe are colored by carotenoids – a natural food pigment that has been shown to decrease risk of cancer and other diseases while boosting the immune system. These foods also contain large amounts of potassium, fiber and vitamins like C, B6 and A. Vitamin A plays an important role in the health of skin, hair and eyes.

Green

The pigment chlorophyll colors our favorite fruits and veggies green. Broccoli, asparagus, kiwi, artichokes and those green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and bok choy provide us with calcium, iron and lutein – an antioxidant that appears to play a substantial role in the health of our eyes.

Blue/Purple

Eggplant, blackberries, red onion and blueberries are colored by anthocyanins – antioxidants that improve the health of blood vessels, skin and the brain. Try a purple carrot or potato to reap some of these colorful benefits.

White

White fruits and vegetables such as bananas, cauliflower and parsnips look the way they do thanks to anthoxanthins. These foods provide vitamins C and K, folate, potassium and fiber. Onions and garlic contain allicin, a possible heart healthy and anti-bacterial compound.

Eating a rainbow of foods is not only more aesthetically pleasing, but it provides us with far reaching benefits. As we increase the diversity on our dinner plate with plant-based, colorful foods, it becomes easier to meet recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, while moving us closer to the healthy lifestyle we all seek.

And as I wrote recently Eating More Vegetables Can Almost Halve Your Risk of Dying – and that’s proven!

Read the full article and Bridge the Gap with Juice Plus+