Health Benefits of Fruit and Vegetable ColorsJul 18, 2019
Along this plant-based journey I get lots of questions and feedback. One of the comments I get rather frequently is:
“I only eat fill in the blank vegetable”
That blank is usually either green beans and/or collard greens. You know the quintessential black folks vegetables. Don’t act like they aren’t at every holiday and family reunion/gathering.
The challenge with only eating certain types of fruit or vegetables is that there are thousands of different beneficial nutrients found in plants that promote health and prevent disease. Every single fruit and vegetable has multiple health benefits. In order to reap the benefits you should eat a variety of colors (not just the same old things).
The more colorful a fruit or vegetable, the higher it is in nutrients and antioxidants. So romaine lettuce or kale has more nutrition than iceberg lettuce. Red or sweet potatoes have more health benefits than white. Purple and green onions more than a white…you get the point.
The health benefits of the different colors of fruits and vegetables are outlined below.
Green fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants and are rich in vitamin K, folic acid and potassium. They reduce cancer, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, liver function, immune system health, bone and teeth strength and eye health.
Fruit: Avocado, green apples, green grapes, honeydew, kiwi, limes
Vegetables: Artichoke, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, celery, cabbage, cucumber, endive, green beans, green onion, green pears, green peppers, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, okra, peas, spinach, snap peas, watercress, zucchini
Purple fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants that proved numerous heart healthy benefits. support retinal health, lower cholesterol, improve memory and cognition, heart and blood vessel health, urinary tract health and are great for longevity.
Fruit: Black currants, blackberries, blueberries, dried plums, elderberries, plums, pomegranates, prunes, purple figs, purple grapes, purple peppers and raisins.
Vegetables: Eggplant, purple carrots, purple cabbage, purple asparagus, purple potatoes, belgian endive and purple peppers
The main pigment that gives the red color to these fruits and vegetables is lycopene. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cancer and heart attacks. Red fruits and vegetables improve heart health, immune system function, skin health, cell renewal, lower blood pressure and prevent cancer.
Fruit: Blood oranges, cherries, cranberries, guava, papaya, pink grapefruit, pomegranates, raspberries, red apples, red grapes, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon
Vegetables: Beets, radicchio, radishes, red bell peppers, red chili peppers, red onions, red potatoes
Yellow & Orange
Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are high in beta carotene (that’s what gives them the yellow/orange color). They are extremely rich in vitamin A which is needed for strong immune function and healthy vision. Recent research has shown that beta carotenes are also useful in preventing cancers of the stomach. They improve eye health, heart health, immune system function, skin health, joints & tissue, bone health and encourage alkaline balance.
Fruit: Apricots, cantaloupe, Gooseberries, grapefruit, lemon, mango, nectarines, oranges, papaya, peaches, persimmons, pineapples, pumpkin, tangerines, yellow apples, yellow figs, yellow pears, yellow watermelon
Vegetables: Butternut squash, carrots, corn, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, yellow beets, yellow peppers, yellow potatoes, summer squash, yellow tomatoes, yellow winter squash
White, Tan & Brown
White, tan and brown fruits and vegetables reduce risk of colon, breast and prostate cancers, balance hormone levels and improve colon and stomach health and immune system function.
Fruit: Bananas, brown pears, white nectarines and white peaches
Vegetables: Cauliflower, dates, garlic, ginger, Jerusalem artichoke, Jicama, Kohlrabi, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, turnips, white corn
So you can see why tasting the rainbow is so beneficial for your health. The next time you’re at the grocery store – look down at your cart. Are there a variety of colors? If not do yourself a favor and grab a few from the list above.
What are some of your favorite fruit and veggies? What are some you need to try to help you with health challenges you may have?
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