A Farmer's Market Guide to Colorful Eating
Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients occur naturally only in plants and may provide health benefits beyond what other essential nutrients provide. Eating a variety of color (like a rainbow) will help you get all the antioxidants and phytonutrients in your diet!
The blue and purple hues in foods are from their high anthocyanin content which are heart healthy and help support healthy blood pressure.
Try: eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, prunes, plums or pomegranates
The natural pigment chlorophyll colors green fruits and vegetables. Green foods are rich in isothiocyanates which have anti-cancer properties. Vegetables in this category are also excellent sources of Vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids.
Try: broccoli, cabbage, bok-choy or Brussels sprouts
Although similar to green fruits and vegetables, these foods are rich in lutein. Lutein is beneficial for eye health. Another reason to eat from this category is its high Vitamin C content which helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy.
Try: avocado, kiwifruit, cucumbers, spinach and other leafy greens
Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene are all orange friendly antioxidants. These antioxidants help with vision and immune function, as well as skin and bone health. They also have cancer preventing properties!
Try: carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins or apricots
Lycopene is the pigment in reddish fruits and vegetables. It is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of some cancers. Lycopene also protects against heart attacks. Red fruits and vegetables are also sources of Vitamin C, folate and flavonoids (which reduce inflammation).
Try: tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava or cranberries
No color? No problem! Some phytonutrients are colorless, like flavonoids. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that help the body get rid of molecules that cause damage to body cells and tissues. They are also anti-inflammatory and support heart health and the nervous system.
Try: onions, apples, turnips, celery, bananas or pears
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