Have you ever heard that you should “eat the rainbow”? Selecting a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables can help create a visually pleasing plate, but there are more compelling reasons to eat a variety of hues.
A broad range of colors helps ensure that you also consume a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which are vital for good health.
Here’s a closer look at what the colors of produce mean, and why you should include each of them in your diet.
Phytonutrients are naturally occurring substances that are found in plants and produce different colors. Researchers have found that they have numerous health-boosting benefits. Lycopene is one of the most well-known phytonutrients and yields a red color.
This can be found in pink guava, tomato products, and grapefruit. Lycopene has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help decrease cancer risks and decrease skin damage from the sun.
The phytonutrients in carrots help support eye health as well as they contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Alpha carotene, beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin are all carotenoids that create an orange or yellow color and are found in vegetables such as carrots, corn, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, winter squash and yellow peppers.
Several phytonutrients produce the color green, including chlorophyll, glucosinolates, indoles and isothiocyanates. These originate in green leafy vegetables such as green cabbage, kale and spinach as well as asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts and green herbs.
Like all phytochemicals, they help fight inflammation and oxidative damage and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins — a class of phytochemicals that are associated with a variety of important health benefits.
They happen to have a protective effect against some neurological disorders as well as helping maintain cognitive function. They may also make you less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
Fruits and vegetables containing anthocyanins include blackberries, blueberries, grapes, eggplants, elderberries, plums, and purple and red cabbage.
Dark red fruits and veggies such as beets and prickly pears include betalains, which appear to have cardiovascular benefits and may also help improve oxygen intake to improve athletic performance as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Allicin is a phytonutrient that produces white and brown colors and is found in cauliflower, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips and white potatoes.
In addition to cardiovascular benefits, these vegetables can help reduce your risk of various cancers. The accompanying resource describes more about these benefits.
Graphic created by MadeWith Foods
Hi, This is Rifat. I love to read beauty and fashion blogs. So I started writing beauty and fashion content as well. Apart from all this, I love to sketch.