You’ve probably heard that it’s important to eat your colors, but do you know why? Fruits and vegetables within certain color families tend to have higher concentrations of specific nutrients that are vital for your health and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables from each color group ensures that you are receiving balanced nutrition from whole foods.
Beyond ensuring that your diet is balanced nutritionally, creating plant-based meals with an array of different colors guarantees that your food will have a lovely presentation. I know that creating visually-pleasing dishes is an important part of helping people enjoy the experience of a healthy diet and few things are as naturally beautiful as the rich hues and textures of freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. When I make a dish that includes all of the colors of the rainbow, I know that I am creating a positive sensory experience that nourishes not only the body, but the soul as well.
If you want to know how to create a vibrantly colored, nutrient-dense meal made up of fresh produce, check out the following guide to learn about the specific nutrients and health benefits of each color group. The more colorful you make your meals, the more beautiful nourishment you will receive.
Red to Pink Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables like tomatoes, red peppers, watermelon, guavas, papayas, and grapefruit get their red to pink color from lycopene, a carotenoid and powerful antioxidant that has a range of health benefits. Some studies have indicated that a diet rich in lycopene can help reduce the risk of some cancers, heart diseases, diabetes, and age-related ocular issues such as cataracts. Lycopene also has the ability to mitigate the potential for free radical damage and reduce visible signs of aging in the skin.
Yellow to Orange Fruits and Vegetables
Another group of carotenoids, beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, and alpha carotene, can be found in high concentrations in orange and yellow vegetables. The body converts these carotenoids to Vitamin A, which is highly important for maintaining the integrity of the surface of the eye and overall healthy vision. Vitamin A also plays a role in creating a healthy immune system by keeping skin and mucous membrane cells moist and resistant to damage or invasion by bacteria or viruses. To be sure that you are getting enough of these beneficial carotenoids, include a mix of carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, cantaloupe, and apricots in your diet.
Leafy and Cruciferous Greens
You have surely heard that it is important to eat your green vegetables and this is because fruits and vegetables that have a yellow-green to deep green color are excellent sources of lutein, chlorophyll, isothiocyanates, and a host of other vitamins and minerals that will help your body maintain a vibrant state of health. Like Vitamin A, lutein is extremely beneficial to eye health and can help prevent chronic eye diseases like macular degeneration. Chlorophyll is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce free radical damage in the body and is the substance that gives foods like kale, spinach, and watercress their distinctive deep green shade. Isothiocyanates are substances that can be found in cruciferous green vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and bok choy and some studies have shown that these substances can prevent the development of cancer in precancerous cells. For some people, greens are the hardest color group to incorporate into meals regularly. If this is true for you, Bennie Blends Berry Superfood Blend is an easy way to add the detoxifying benefits of greens to your diet.
Blue to Purple Fruits and Vegetables
If you eat lots of fruits and vegetables that have a deep blue or purple color, then you are probably already receiving the benefits of the high anthocyanin content of these foods. Blueberries, acai berries and eggplant get their color from phytochemicals that combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of developing cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS. Making a mix of dark berries, like the one’s in Bennie Blends Berry Superfood Blend, have also been linked to a decrease in the visible signs of aging as well as painful inflammation.