You’ve Got...

...the GREEN Light to Add COLOR!

You may have heard the cliché, “eat the rainbow,” but what does this really mean, and why is it important? It turns out that different fruits and vegetables (and other foods) have unique profiles of vitamins and minerals. While eating pounds of broccoli is certainly beneficial to your body, if this is the only vegetable you eat, you end up missing out on a plethora of rich nutrients. What do the different colors provide?


Lycopene is a vital nutrient found in many red foods, especially tomatoes and tomato products. Lycopene has been found to reduce some cancers and has many heart benefits. Red fruits and vegetables like watermelon, grapefruit, and cranberries are rich sources of flavonoids, an antioxidant.


Orange and yellow foods are packed with Vitamin C and beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A by the body and is used to boost immune function and eye health. Examples are cantaloupe, carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, orange/yellow bell peppers, mangos, and apricots.


These lighter hues of green are sources of lutein, which plays a large role in enhancing vision and preventing macular degeneration. They are also good sources of Vitamin C . Examples are avocado, kiwi, spinach/leafy greens, and pistachios.


Green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, greens, kale, and spinach contain high amounts of
Vitamin K and potassium. Vitamin K plays a large role in blood clotting, and potassium has been linked to lower blood pressure.


These fruits and vegetables are high sources of anthocyanin, an anti-oxidant that has many heart-protecting benefits. Examples of this are eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, prunes, plums, and pomegranates.


Foods like peanut butter, brown rice, tofu, soy beans, nuts, seeds, and oatmeal are rich sources of magnesium, which aids in bone health, better blood pressure control, and stroke/diabetes prevention.

Your springtime challenge: eat something of each color daily!

Source: Today’s Dietitian