Eat The Rainbow: The Power of Color In Foods

 

Bright colors serve a dual purpose for plants. By attracting mobile eaters to the pretty color, the plant is able to spread it’s seeds (which, in Nature, end up somewhere in a warm pile of manure to grow from). It also produces a vast array of phytochemicals that protect the plant from the elements and produce nutrients the plant can’t otherwise get.

Fortunately, we humans can take advantage of both of these purposes. The brightly colored fruits and veggies are not only visually appealing, but packed with all those protective nutrients! Here is a breakdown of the benefits each color group provides.

Red – Foods like tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit are high in lycopene, which reduces many cancer risks and improves lipid and heart functions.  Cooked tomatoes are the best source for this powerful nutrient.

Orange – Carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and other orange foods contain carotenoids, like beta-carotene, which help improve cellular communication and can be converted by the body to retinol, for eye and skin health. They also provide antioxidant support.

Yellow – Citrus fruits and tropicals such as pineapple and peach are packed with essential vitamin C and flavonoids that boost the immune system. Also in this group is turmeric (curcumin), which has been used in some cultures for centuries as an anti-aging spice. It wards off almost everything associated with aging, from arthritis to Alzheimer’s to cancer, and speeds the healing process of wounds.

Green -Leafy greens (turnip, mustard, collard, spinach, etc) are full of lutein and zeaxanthin which help slow down the degenerative process in the body,  and other cruciferous vegetables like brocolli, kale and bok choi help destroy compounds in the body that cause cancer.

Blue/Purple – Purple, the color of Royalty, certainly takes the crown for it’s power-punch ability to boost wellness. Foods like blueberries, blackberries, purple potatoes, purple (red) cabbage, plums, and grapes are packed with a type of flavonoid called anthocyanins, which reduces inflammation and improves brain, eye and artery function.  Studies have also shown that purple foods have the best chance of binding toxins for removal from the body, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.

“White – While technically not a color, there are a number of white foods that are powerful healers. This group includes alliums like onions, garlic, shallots, leek, etc., which not only interferes with the growth of cancer cells, but also help rebuild DNA and slow the aging process.

 

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