Eat the Colors of the Rainbow! some of you may have heard this term before in reference to getting an array of multi hued produce into ones diet. Indeed there is something to be said for having a brightly colored plate: each pigment having a different set of unique and essential nutrients for your body. And the deeper and richer those colors, the higher the antioxidant levels in those fruits and vegetables, meaning your immune system will be better able to fight all those free radical invaders that can be toxic in your environment. Not to mention that the benefits of fiber and the natural enzymes in things like red bell peppers, purple cabbage orange cantaloupe and green broccoli cannot be matched in any manufactured food found on a grocery store shelf in a bag, box or can! No matter what your preferences are in the produce department, try to find something form each section of the color wheel that tickles your fancy because these are the preventers of heart disease, strokes, diverticulitis, high blood pressure, and many types of cancer. There are such a wide variety of health components found in fresh fruits and vegetables they will even guard specific body parts from things like cataracts and macular degeneration or cholesterol build-up in the liver.
So what does this look like translated to the real everyday meals and snacks you are eating in a given day? Well, it is a common known fact that the typical American diet is often too high in processed carbohydrates such as breads and cakes and other baked goods, and that meat portions could stand to be reduced a bit also, or at least not breaded and fried! Picture a plate with chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese and a white bread roll with butter.. pound cake and whipped topping for dessert (yes, I see this kind of thing at social functions and neighborhood gatherings all the time) You are going to be looking at somewhat of a drab meal, all browns, tans, and whites. Now, picture a very different scenario where dinner starts with big salad containing ripe tomatoes (red), grated carrots (orange) and beets (magenta), chopped celery and cucumber (green) all over a bed of richly hued dark leafy greens. Add to this some sautéed summer squash (yellow) and you are really amp up the vitamins and minerals you are getting. Then you can add whatever else you like to eat, and still have room for! And your blues and purples? Easy. Have a bowl of fresh berries for dessert, or fit a delicious smoothie into your day like the one in the recipe below!
The goal is simply to get as many colors from the rainbow in your diet as you can so that you are maximizing your consumption of the broadest range of nutrients possible.
Judging from all the different produce colors included in this ingredient line-up, you are guaranteed to be getting a nice dose of diverse nutrients with just one serving!
Antioxidant Punch Smoothie:
- 2 Bananas (yellow)
- 1 C Frozen mixed Berries and Cherries (blue, red and purple)
- 2 large handfuls baby Spinach (green)
- 2 C fresh Orange juice (orange)
Put all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Makes two servings.