Eat A Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables This Summer
We all know that eating more fruits and vegetables is important to good health. For some reason, people resist eating the healthy jewels found in the produce aisle at the grocery store. With a little attitude adjustment, eating fruits and vegetables, becomes easier. Think of healthy produce as eating a beautiful rainbow of color.
Summer is the perfect time to start increasing intake of fruits and vegetables. Produce stands start popping up along the roadside. Farmers markets start coming to town with their harvest of fresh, locally grown food. Roadside stands are a convenient place to purchase a healthy rainbow of food. Drive, or walk, right up to the stand, and pick out some of the finest, freshest food available.
Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals. These colorful gems are also rich in substances called phytochemicals. Phyotchemicals are what makes produce colorful. Scientists are still sorting out the synergistic actions of photochemicals. There appear to be beneficial chemical reactions that occur from food. So far, science has not been able to duplicate the healthy synergistic actions through supplements. What this means is that the whole food is a better source of whole nutrients than supplements.
It's easier than you might think to add fruits and vegetable to the diet. Dietary guidelines mention a minimum of anything from six to ten servings daily. This may sound daunting, if your idea of a vegetable serving is a leaf of lettuce on your hamburger, but it's not as hard to do as it might sound.
A serving of fruits and vegetables may be smaller than you imagine, meaning that what you may see as a single serving may actually be two servings of healthy food. A serving size is one cup of raw, or one half cup of cooked food.
Start increasing the rainbow of fruits and vegetables in your diet by adding them to meals and using them as snacks. Eventually you might start reaching for the colorful gems without even think about it.
Make it fun by eating as many of the rainbow colors as you can in a day. This will make sure that you eat a variety of nutrients, all with different benefits. Following are fruits and vegetables for the colors of the rainbow:
Children might enjoy making a game of eating a rainbow of foods, by keeping track of how many colors they can eat in one day, maybe even replacing high calories snack food with healthy treats.
Red and Deep Pink Fruits and Vegetables are rich in vitamin C, anthocyanins and lycopens, which appears to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Fruits include: apples, blood oranges, cactus pears, cherries, cranberries, guava, pink grapefruit, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries and watermelon. Vegetables include: beets, kidney beans, radicchio, radishes, red bean, red cabbage, red lentils red onions, red peppers, tamirillos, tomatoes, tomato juice and V8 juice.
Green foods are rich in Carotenoids including lutein and zexanthin, which act as antioxidants eating up free radicals. Antioxidants also help to preserve vision. Fruits include: avocado, cherimoya, green apples, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, limes, pears. Vegetables include: artichokes, arugula, asparagus, broccoli, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cactus pads, cauliflower, celery, cayote squash, Chinese cabbage, Chinese long beans, chipotle chillies, collards, cucumbers, edamame, endive, escarole, fennel, green beans, green onions, green peppers, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, poblano chilies, rapini, snap peas, snow peas, spinach, tomatillos, turnips and zucchini.
Yellow and Orange Foods are rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A. They also contain Vitamins C, E, and Folate. Fruits include: apricots, Asian pears, bananas, cantaloupes, Clementine's, golden delicious apples, grapefruit, kiwi, kumquats, lemons Mandarin oranges, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, orange juice, papayas, peaches, pepino melon, pineapple, plantains, quince, star fruit, tangerines and yellow raisins. Vegetables include butternut squash, carrots, corn, golden nugget squash, pumpkin, rutabagas, spaghetti squash, summer squash, sweet dumpling squash an sweet potatoes.
Blue and Purple foods have flavonoids and anthocynins, that may defend against carcinogens. They are rich in Vitamin C, folate, fiber, and potassium. Fruits include: blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, passion fruit, plums, dried plums, purple grapes, and raisins. Vegetables include: blue corn, eggplant, purple asparagus, purple cabbage and purple new potatoes.
White foods have allicin, which reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, which increasing immunity. Fruits include: bananas, manzano bananas, lychees, pears and plantains. Vegetables include: cauliflower, daikon, fennel, garlic, jicama, kohlrabi, leeks, malanga, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, scallions shallots, sunchokes, turnips and water chestnuts.
Reach for these colorful rainbow foods for snacks and at mealtime, for a variety of nutrients to boost health.
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