Why You Should Color Your Plate With Veggies
If you’re looking to get healthier and achieve better balance in your life, eating the rainbow is a great place to start (and no, we’re not talking about brightly colored candies). Getting a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits in your diet is important. In fact, each produce item offers its own unique composition of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. So, the more colorful your plate, the more of that good stuff you’ll be getting in your diet.
Whether you’ve got little ones to think about or you’re simply looking to improve your own personal wellness, here’s some guidance on how to color your diet with a rainbow of goodness.
Why does produce come in so many different colors, anyway?
The colors in fruits and veggies are caused by the presence of certain phytonutrients. These are naturally occurring chemicals that are there to help to protect plants from threats like bugs, germs and the harmful rays of the sun. Each color represents an abundance of specific nutrients, which is enjoying a variety in your diet is so beneficial.
Most of us are lacking
According to a recent report on phytonutrients, eight out of ten Americans are lacking in virtually every single color category. The report revealed the following stats:
- 69% of us are falling short in green phytonutrients
- 78% of us are falling short in red phytonutrients
- 79% of us are falling short in yellow and orange phytonutrients
- 86% of us are falling short in white phytonutrients
Now let’s take a look at what colors reveal about a food’s nutritional content and how you can incorporate more of each into your regular diet.
Red Fruits and Veggies
Red produce contains the phytochemicals lycopene and ellagic acid. These nutrients are renowned for their many health benefits. Consuming these phytonutrients by eating the foods that are naturally rich in is typically a better option than taking supplements. Some examples of red foods to try include:
- Red peppers
- Red onions
Yellow and Orange Fruits and Veggies
Produce that is yellow or orange in color is rich in vitamin C, as well as certain carotenoids, like beta-carotene. This helps the body in many ways, including the production of vitamin A, which promotes cell growth and healthy vision. Examples of yellow and orange foods to try include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.)
- Yellow summer squash
- Orange and yellow peppers
Green Veggies and Fruits
Fruits and vegetables that are green in color are rich in vitamin K, isoflavones and lutein. They are great for boosting the immune system and supporting healthy blood and bones. Green produce is also rich in folate, a valuable nutrient. Some examples of green foods to eat more of include:
- Romaine lettuce
- Collard greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard
- Green beans
- Kiwi fruit
- Green grapes
- Green apples
White and Brown Fruits and Veggies
Produce that is either white or brown in color may not look as pretty as the other fruits and veggies, but it is loaded with phytonutrients and other highly beneficial ingredients, such as sulforaphane, allicin and quercetin. A few examples of healthy brown and white foods to try include:
When it comes to eating healthy, sometimes the easiest way to do so is to follow the best and the brightest. By making your plate colorful with an ample amount of the above fruits and veggies, you’ll give your body all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to keep running strong.