Color Your Plate

Yellow and Red PeppersCan You Eat Right with Color?

The theme for National Nutrition Month was “Eat Right with Color.”  Besides attracting attention, the colors of fruits and vegetables also indicate the nutrient content in them.  Listed are some good reasons to color up your plate.

Colors of Fruits and Vegetables

RED – Red foods such as strawberries, watermelon, pomegranates, and tomatoes contain lycopene (a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical) and ellagic acid (a natural phenol antioxidant) that have been shown to protect our cells against heart disease and some cancers.  Research by food scientists indicates that cooking tomatoes increases the lycopene level.  Also, lycopene is soluable in oil so the addition of olive oil to tomato sauce does not reduce the efficacy of lycopene.

GREEN –  “You Gotta Eat Your Spinach, Baby.”  We all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach; but you may be surprised to learn that he was also helping to protect himself against inflammatory problems, oxidative stress-related problems, cardiovascular problems, bone problems, and cancers at the same time.  The green color in spinach and in other leafy vegetables is formed by chlorophyll (the compound that has proven effective against cancer).  Concentrations of the nutrients contained in vegetables and fruits can be estimated from the intensity of the green color.  The more dense or dark green in color, the more concentration of vitamins and minerals. 

BLUE and PURPLE –  Blueberries, literally bursting with nutrients and flavor, are very low in calories and rate very high in their capacity to destroy free radicals.  While wine, particularly red wine, has been touted as cardioprotective since it is a good source of antioxidant anthocyanins, a recent study found that blueberries deliver 38% more of these free radical fighters.  Physicians in general are reluctant to recommend any form of alcohol to their patients so the recent research completed on this dark blue fruit has been welcome.  Blackberries, eggplant, and purple cabbage contain compounds also believed good for heart health.

ORANGE –  The most dominant nutrient content of these fruits and vegetables is beta-carotene, an antioxidant.  Beta-carotene is plentiful in vegetables and fruits such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and apricots and is beneficial in this form.  The body turns beta-carotene in to Vitamin A which is essential to the body.   

ALWAYS REMEMBER:  The key to a healthy plan is finding a balance of food from all the food groups and snacks that are low in sugar and high in protein found in OPTIFAST meal replacements.  Check out the Jump-Start program to help push the junk out of your diet and the fat out of your body. 

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