Nutrients from Nature– Eat a Rainbow
Phytonutrients from plant foods work to decrease risk of chronic diseases and promote immunity. The best way to ensure you’re getting the right amount of phytonutrients is to “eat a rainbow” of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
This Month’s Well-Being Challenge:
Eat a Rainbow
Give your body a boost by increasing your intake of phytonutrients found in deeply colored plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. This month, build your meals around two-three deeply colored foods from different color groups.
Share your experiences by posting comments or photos of your colorful, phytonutrient-rich meals on our Facebook page.
Below is a list of the different color groups, with examples of which foods to look for and the benefits they provide.
- Red: Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and guava contain vitamin C and lycopene, which has been shown to reduce risk of heart and lung disease and prostate cancer.
- Purple/Red/Blue: Apples, beets, berries, eggplant, grapes, and plums contain catechins, beta carotene, resveratrol, and anthocyanins, which strengthen skin, tendons and ligaments, as well as prevent blood clots from forming.
- Orange/Red: Bell pepper, papaya, sweet potato, and carrots contain vitamin C and carotenoids, which prevent oxidation damage, reduce multiplication of cancer cells, and may support elimination of tumors.
- Orange/Yellow: Apricots, cantaloupe, winter squash, citrus, mango, nectarines, and peaches contain vitamin C and carotenoids, which prevent oxidation damage, reduce multiplication of cancer cells, and may support elimination of tumors.
- Yellow: Corn, egg, summer squash, seeds, and nuts contain vitamin A, lutein, and selenium, which protect against DNA-damaging free radicals, cancer, and infections.
- Green: Broccoli, chard, kale, collards, spinach, and green peas contain beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and lutein, which promote healthy vision and reduce cancer risk.
- Brown: Beans, brown rice, nuts, seeds, tea, and wheat germ contain selenium, vitamins C and E, and catechins, which defend the body against cancer, heart disease, and also have antibacterial properties.
- White: Garlic, oatmeal, onion, and seafood contain selenium, which protects against DNA-damaging free radicals, cancer, and infections.
Looking for More Information?
If you want to read more about this month’s nutrition topic, here are some suggested websites that contain credible information about nutrients from nature:
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Antioxidants, 2015. eatrightpro.org
- Institute of Food Technologists. What Are Antioxidants? ift.org
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to take the place of advice from a health professional. Check with your physician before starting any diet or exercise program. While all efforts have been made to ensure the information included in this material is correct, new research is released frequently and may invalidate certain pieces of data. 08/16.