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Can You Paint With All The Colors Of Your Food?

Updated: May 17, 2022

When you were a kid, you wanted the big box of crayons, the one with the most colors. You wouldn't have dreamed of drawing a picture in drab neutrals. The same rule should apply to your dinner plate.

Color often signifies valuable nutrients that can help in fighting cancer. Instead of trying to remember all the key nutrients one should be consuming, Nature in its infinite wisdom chose color and its visual appeal! Although we don't fully understand how these chemicals work individually, we do know that eating a well-rounded diet by combining a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables and legumes creates a synergistic effect that helps to promote good health and lower disease risk. Think color, think variety and you will not go wrong.

Eat the Rainbow - Have you heard that before?

Simply put, eating the rainbow involves eating fruits and vegetables of different colors every day. Plants contain different pigments, or phytonutrients, which give them their color.

Different-colored plants are linked to higher levels of specific nutrients and health benefits.

While eating more vegetables and fruit is always a good idea, focusing on eating a variety of colors will increase your intake of different nutrients to benefit various areas of your health.

Eat the rainbow and you will never go wrong!

Red: tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, papaya, cranberries

Lycopene, an antioxidant that may help to protect against cancers of the prostate, stomach and lung, lends some fruits and vegetables their reddish cast. Foods that are high in lycopene -- including tomatoes -- have been linked to lower risk of cancer and heart attacks. Cooked tomato sauce is an especially great source of lycopene, as the cooking helps the body to absorb carotenoids more easily.

Orange: carrots, mangos, cantaloupe, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apricots

Orange-colored foods may contain beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, nutrients that can be converted into vitamin A. The beta-carotenes in some orange fruits and veggies also may play a role in reducing risk of lung, esophagus and stomach cancers.

Brown: beans, chickpeas, lentils

Nope, we're not talking about a big hunk of meat. Lentils, black beans and chickpeas can play a big role in preventing heart disease. They are all full of folate, a B vitamin that counteracts homocysteine, an amino acid that can help blood clots to form.

Green: broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, brussels sprouts

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, are rich in isothiocyanates and indoles -- two phytonutrients that may have anticancer properties. Leafy green vegetables also have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Green vegetables are powerhouses of nutrients; they're also packed with folic acid, vitamin K, carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids.

Purple: blueberries, eggplant, blackberries, prunes, plums, pomegranates, beets, purple cabbage

Purple and blue fruits and vegetables draw their color from anthocyanin, an antioxidant. The anti-inflammatory properties of anthocyanin may be beneficial for lowering risk for cancer and heart disease, while also lessening the painful effects of arthritis.

So, next time when you go to the market for fruits and vegetables, how about a splash of color?!

About the authors:

Madur & Anitha Jagannath are certified Nutrition Consultants, in addition to their professions in technology and human resources. When Madur started feeling lethargic and slowing down, he started exercising regularly, became conscious of healthy eating habits and nutrition. He is an avid runner and does half-marathons often. At Voyage to Wellness, they attribute our reputation to the lasting customer relationships they have developed throughout the years. They believe in health & wellness and being fit, at all stages of people's lives.

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