Sunday, January 15, 2012


Have you ever considered the color of your food and how it relates to your health?  Do you often choose your daily food based on its color? Is it important for you to eat a variety of colors each day? Do you know how important colors are for improving your health and eating a nutritional diet?
In the plant world the colors of food indicate different benefits for health and nutrition. Each color has a “specialty” that can help our bodies to heal and maintain good health. We’ve all been told to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day but personally, I  think that is only half of what we should focus on. To me the colors are very important when choosing my food. Each time I put together a meal I think about the colors and how it will look. I think about the colors I am eating and try to get as many colors as I can in each meal. 

So here is a short break down on the benefits of each of the colors:
The natural red pigments in foods include lyopene, anthocyanins, and betalains. These pigments help to detoxify your system and have cancer fighting properties. They also help to fight against chronic inflammation and do their work on a cellular level.  Some of my favorites are strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, beets, and radishes. 

The yellow/orange color pigments most commonly include carotenoids. There is truth that the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots help your eyes and help to reduce age-related diseases leading to blindness. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and eyes. Scientists have also reported that carotenoid-rich foods help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and can improve immune system function.  My favorites in this group include sweet potatoes and yams, oranges, and mangoes.

Green fruits & vegetables contain a natural pigment called chlorophyll. There are other members of this group that also contain lutein and indoles. Together these chemicals can help reduce the risk of birth defects, cancer, and cataracts. Seems I love most everything in this group including asparagus, spinach, cucumbers and edamame.

The blue/purple group also contain anthocyanins and help to protect our cells from damage. They help to reduce cancer, stroke, and heart disease while increasing memory function.  My all time favorite is blackberries however, I also love blueberries, figs, and purple grapes. 

White foods often get a bad rap. But there really are benefits to eating white foods. They contain anthoxanthins which help to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. They also help fight against cancer and heart disease. In this group my favorite has to be garlic--but I also love beans, mushrooms, onions, and jicama. 

We need to make every effort each day to eat a variety of foods with a variety of colors to get the full range of benefits and good nutrition.  
Eat a rainbow of colors every day!

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