While neutral tones may be your number one choice for design, décor or wardrobe options, when it comes to your diet color is king. Adding color to our plates not only makes a meal more visually appealing, but the variety in hues significantly boosts the nutritional power of what you are consuming. The color of fruits and vegetables is a very reliable way to easily decipher the nutritional value, and the darker the color the better. Each color has something to different to offer and eating well means that you should consume a variety of foods at every meal.
We all know that it’s important to eat healthy, but here are a few quick reasons to refresh the importance of including fruits and veggies in our daily meal planning.
- Fruits and vegetables offer many beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, calcium, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
- Fruits and vegetables typically contain no trans-fat, low saturated fat and very little or no sodium. The natural sugars that you may find don’t affect your health the same way that added sugars do.
- Fruits and vegetables are low in calories so they can help you manage your weight while still making you feel pretty full. Replacing high-calorie foods with healthy fruits and veggies is a great step towards a healthier and more balanced eating plan.
- Fruits and vegetables are good for you no matter how they are prepared – raw, cooked, fresh, frozen, canned, dried, whole, chopped, organic or not. They are the most convenient, versatile and affordable foods you can add to your diet.
- Adding fruits and vegetables to your daily meal planning can help you lower your risk of many serious and chronic health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, kidney disease, obesity and much more.
Red fruits and veggies contain a dominant pigment called lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that is associated with lowering the risk of certain cancers and protecting against heart attacks. The most concentrated source of lycopene is tomato based products. The darker and richer the color, the more concentrated the phytonutrients available. Some popular red foods include cranberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, watermelon, beets, red peppers and tomatoes.
Yellow and orange vegetables and fruits offer a high concentration of Vitamin C and beta-carotene (Vitamin A), which is a strong antioxidant. Beta-carotene is a nutrient that is vital for vision and immune function, as well as skin and bone health. Some people will refer to Vitamin A as the “vision vitamin,” because the chemicals found in yellow and orange fruits and veggies can protect our eyes from cataracts and offer anti-inflammatory benefits. If you’re looking to increase your Vitamin C and beta-carotene intake then add carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, apricots, mango and tangerines to your diet.
Green means chlorophyll, and green vegetables are potent in Vitamin K, folic acid, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, some of the cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, have been found to detox the body from cancer-causing chemicals before they have an opportunity to do any damage. Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale are richer in beneficial nutrients than some of the paler options like iceberg lettuce. To add a touch of green to your plate choose options like asparagus, Brussel sprouts, green beans, zucchini, green peppers, avocado and green apples.
Blue, or purple, colored fruits and vegetables are a great source of anthocyanins, a strong antioxidant that is very heart healthy and can support healthy blood pressure. Anthocyanins can help ward off heart disease by preventing clot formation, and they can also help to lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Blueberries, a proud member of the blue/purple family, are considered to be a superfood and they have the highest antioxidant content of all foods. Add some blue and purple to your meals by consuming eggplant, blackberries, prunes, plums, pomegranates, blueberries, purple grapes, purple cauliflower and blackberries.
Eating healthy is not an easy feat, but it also shouldn’t be considered difficult. Eating right with colors offers an easy-to-follow guide that can help you add variety to your plate while ensuring that you are consuming foods that are rich in the vitamins and minerals essential to maintaining your well-being. Eating healthy is the easiest step you can take towards achieving a healthier you! Check out our blog for more tips, information and inspiration on healthy living, diet, fitness and weight loss.