Let’s face it: As winter sludges on and we find ourselves feeling more and more like Jack Torrance in “The Shining,” we need an extra boost.
We propose that that boost be the addition of color into our fruits and vegetables. These foods are colorful because they contain different nutrients, and research shows variety is equally important as quantity when it comes to healthy eating. In short, an all-greens diet won’t give you all of the nutrients your body needs to function well. Today’s Dietician states that we need a diet full of a variety of natural phytochemicals.
Let’s take a look, in Roy G. Biv order, of course, at the nutrients found in our most colorful fruits and vegetables.
Nutrients: Our favorite sweet apples get that beautiful red color from natural pigments, such as lycopene and anthrocyanins. They are antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that also have been linked to cancer prevention.
Fruits and veggies to try: Red apples, red peppers, beets, pomegranates, red cabbage, red potatoes, cherries, radishes, cranberries, raspberries, pink grapefruit, rhubarb, red grapes, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon
Nutrients: Those beautiful oranges and golds in our carrots and squashes are caused by carotenoids like alpha carotene, beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin. They convert our nutrients into vitamin A and serve as antioxidants for our eyes.
Fruits and veggies to try: Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, squashes and surprisingly dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and peas. The dark green pigments mask the orange/yellow ones.
Nutrients: When we think of vegetables, we of course think of green first. That’s because the green pigment is packed with vitamins, nutrients and fiber.
Fruits and veggies to try: Cabbage, spinach, kale, collards, broccoli, romaine and iceberg lettuce
Nutrients: These are the rarest colors in fruits and vegetables. They also contain anthrocyanins and other vitamins and minerals that boost eye health, antioxidants and hearth health.
Fruits and veggies to try: Blueberries, blackberries and purple potatoes