Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vitamins of the Rainbow

Hello all! Right now I should be out exploring Savannah on my mini-vacation. Hooray! Luckily, Elle from We Can Begin to Feed offered to write a guest post for me while I'm away---and I'm so grateful! She never fails to impress me with her healthy and simple recipes. I love how creative she is with fresh, seasonal ingredients. If you haven't visited her blog yet, you must! 

I hope you don’t think of nutrition as a Black-or-White issue. Actually it is a whole variety of colors… all the colors of the rainbow!  Red  Orange-Yellow  Green  Blue-Purple and White
The more different colors we can work into our meal plans, the better off we are, nutritionally. Every color grouping has its own health benefits and the more of them we can take advantage of, the better for us.
So here are the colors, some of the fruits and veggies included, and some nutrients and health benefits they offer:

Red
Tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, beets, watermelon, red peppers, cranberries, raspberries, radishes, red cabbage, pink grapefruit, red apples, rhubarb, red grapes
Red foods contain lycopene that helps rid the body of damaging free radicals, protects against prostate cancer, as well as heart and lung disease. The red foods are loaded with antioxidants thought to protect against heart disease by preventing blood clots and may also delay the aging of cells in the body.


Orange-Yellow
Mangoes, tangerines, oranges, lemons, squashes, papayas, peaches, apricots, carrots, pineapple, corn, yellow tomatoes, yellow and orange peppers, pears, cantaloupe, nectarines, grapefruit, persimmons, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, yellow apples
Orange-yellow foods contain alpha carotene, which protects against cancer, and beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A protecting the skin against free-radical damage. Beta-carotene is also good for night vision.


Green
Avocadoes, limes, spinach, kale, lettuce, herbs of all kinds, green apples, green peppers, brussel sprouts, artichokes, broccoli, asparagus, sea vegetables, cucumber, green onions, peas, green beans, zucchini, green grapes, kiwi, honeydew melon, celery, green cabbage
Green foods contain the chemicals that help ward off cancer by inhibiting carcinogens. Chlorophyll is the component that makes plant green, and is purifying in the body. Many of the green foods also contain calcium and other healthful minerals.


Blue-Purple
Blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, plums, purple grapes, figs, raisins
Blue-purple foods contain the compound anthocyanins that have been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and increasing heart health.


White
Bananas, onions, mushrooms, jicama, potatoes, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, parsnips, turnips.

Although White isn’t a color of the rainbow, it is a mixture of all the colors. White foods contain properties that have anti-tumor qualities, such as allicin in onions as well as other health-improving antioxidants. The white foods, bananas and potatoes, contain potassium as well.



There are lots of fun ways to get a variety of colourful fruits and veggies onto your plate and into your tummy.
Salads, both fruit and vegetable, are the obvious choice, but if you are having trouble with getting in your 5 to 7 servings of freggies every day, you could try drinking mixed fruit or vegetable cocktails, too.

Convenient salad packs such as tri-color coleslaw mixes and broccoli slaw mixes are a great addition to your shopping cart… and you can also purchase pre-washed and prepared fruits such as melons, pineapples, if you are pressed for time. Fruits such as apples, oranges, and bananas also make very portable snacks.
Challenge yourself to try a new fruit or a new vegetable every week.

Sometimes my friends and I play a game to see how many colors we can work in on a daily basis. We call it the Rainbow Game, and the one who eats the most different freggies in a day, is the winner.
Or sometimes we will declare a color of the day, and concentrate on eating fruit and vegetables in that particular color. It is is fun to see if we can keep coming up with new ones to try. In the Fall, Orange-Yellow is my favorite.

What is your most creative way to Eat the Rainbow?

What color is your favorite?

9 comments:

  1. how fun! I absolutely love this post! I love the game idea when challenging others...I think it may be good for me on my own to challenge myself by just focusing on one color for a day or two and then another until this becomes easier! I am much better at eating the colors during the summer than I am in the winter...I crave and buy so many more fruits and vegetables (fresh)! I would say my favorite is red!

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  2. Great post and very informative! I had a friend in High School who did the rainbow diet. She would focus on certain colors for a few days at a time. I'm not sure she lost any weight but I have never forgotten it. Thanks for sharing and my favorite is definitely yellow-orange! I love brightly colored food.

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  3. This post is awesome! I definitely needed some of this info.

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  4. That just made me smile just from all the colors!! Love it!

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  5. This is such a great post! very informative. I love the reds.

    http://foodfashionandflow.blogspot.com/

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  6. Cuute post!! I'm seriously drooling over those strawberries!!!

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  7. I miss you already, I love the guest posts but miss you. Have fun in Savannah I love it there. Sarah went to school there =)

    Great info and have a great day!

    -Jen

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  8. I try to make sure I have a very colorful meal, I hate to have a plate full of bland colorless food! I always make sure to have reds, greens and white. lol Great post!

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