According to nutritionists, naturally color-vibrant foods serve an important role in keeping you healthy and even reducing cancer risks. Antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are found in fruits in vegetables, have been noted to significantly reduce cancer risks. Beta carotine and lycopene can help protect cells from damage.
The American Cancer Society still warns that there is no single substance or food that will ward off illness, but the latest preventative answer seems to be in five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
All the science talk can be intimidating... so we've created a visual guide to help show you which fruits and vegetables are part of a colorful, healthy diet.
The Colors of a Healthy Diet
Green vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, and romaine help to improve eye sight and the immunity system because they are typically very high in vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as low in calories, low in fat, high in protein per calorie, high in dietary fiber, high in iron and calcium, and very high in phytochemicals such as lutein and folic acid. Broccoli brings Vitamin B6, B9, and an abundance of Vitamin C to the table. Spinach carries a large amount of magnesium, which is readily available in a lot of our foods, but is essential to living as it is a part of DNA and RNA synthesis. Romaine brings Vitamin A and Vitamin C as a good source for both.
Red strawberries, cherries, tomatos, and apples improve heart and brain function. The tiny but mighty strawberry is packed with vitamin A and C, as well as potassium and magnesium. Potassium plays a huge cellular role in all animals, being a part of the composition, and potassium also serves as a communicator to muscle fibers. Cherries contain anthocyanins, which is the red pigment in berries, and anthocyanins have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation and also serve as potent antioxidants. Cherries have also been shown to contain high levels of melatonin. Research has shown that people who have heart attacks have low melatonin levels. Besides being an antioxidant, melatonin has also been shown to be important for the function of the immune system. Lycopene, one of nature's most powerful antioxidants, is present in tomatos, and, especially when cooked, has been found beneficial in preventing prostate cancer.
Yellow and Orange, as in grapefruit, cantaloupe, squash, and carrots improve the immune sytem, like greens. Oranges, without a doubt, are the greatest source of Vitamin C, but it also has Vitamin B1. Grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C and fiber, and the pink and red hues contain lycopene. Cantaloupes with their polyphenol antioxidants are known to help regulate the formation of nitric oxide, a key chemical in prevention of heart attacks while they also are a good source of vitamin C and beta carotene, which is a provitamin that can be stored in the liver to be later converted to Vitamin A, which helps keep the eyes strong. Carrots contain significant amounts of Vitamin C, B6, and Iron. Squash is a source of riboflavin, potassium, and an abundance of Vitamin C.
Blue and Purple, as in blueberries, black berries, grapes, eggplant, and plums reduce some cancers and keep memory sharp. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals, but also are a significant source of Manganese, which is an essential trace mineral for all living things, and Vitamin K. Grapes have been positively linked to fighting cancer, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease and other ailments. Eggplants are low in energy, protein, and vitamin C, but are rich in potassium and calcium. Plums are high in carbohydrates, low in fat and low in calories. Plums are an excellent source of vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber and are free of sodium and cholesterol.
So, the next time you're out shopping for a meal, make it full of color for your health