Eating healthy doesn’t have to be drab, dull, and colorless! The Eating the Rainbow way of eating, in the simplest terms, means you are eating the different colors in the form of fruits and vegetables daily.
Plants and fruits feature different phytonutrients, which give them distinct, vivid colors that also make them appetizing. But this also means that the different colors are related to different, specific nutrients. What this means is that red color fruits and vegetables have higher concentrations of a specific group of nutrients and health benefits compared to their other color brethren.
By choosing to “eat the rainbow”, i.e. eating all color fruits and vegetables every day, you are also enjoying the full spectrum of nutrients needed for a healthy, happy body.
Let’s go over the different fruit and vegetable color groups and their benefits:
Red fruits and veggies like strawberries, cherries, apples, beets, and red onions offer good anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which make them excellent for reducing the risk of heart disease, lung disease, and some types of cancer, like prostate cancer. Foods in this group are chock full of the carotenoid lycopene. These are also helpful for reducing skin damage accumulated from the sun or sunburns! Small wonder because tomatoes and watermelon are known for being chock full of refreshing moisture.
Yellow and Orange
These offer beta cryptothanxin, which boosts intracellular communication. Some examples of yellow fruits and vegetables include bananas, carrots, oranges, yellow peppers, bananas, and corn. This color group isn’t just good for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it’s also great for boosting your eye health (there’s a reason kids are encouraged to eat carrots for good eyesight!) but it’s also helpful for lowering the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.
Like the other food color groups, green fruits and veggies feature beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green fruits and veggies like broccoli, avocado, asparagus, kale, kiwi fruit, green tea and herbs, and other cruciferous vegetables are excellent for reducing the risk of cancer thanks to the carcinogen-inhibiting indoles, isocyanate, and sulforaphane found in them.
Blue and Purple
Blue and purple-colored fruits and veggies include blueberries, grapes, figs, plums, prunes, purple cabbage, and eggplants. These colorful foods are perfect for giving your brain power a big boost and act as a shield against risks of heart disease, neurological disorders, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes! The anthocyanins found in them are also thought to hinder cellular aging and block the formation of blood clots for heart health.
White and Brown
The allicin found in the onion family contains anti-tumor properties that help reduce the risk of some cancers. The food in this color group is also rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as kaempferol and quercetin. You can find these amazing benefits in parsnips, mushrooms, daikon radishes, garlic, cauliflower, and of course, onions!
Eating the rainbow is very easy. A “powerful plate” can be achieved by integrating 4 and a half cups total of colorful vegetables and fruits into your everyday diet. You can eat in two servings every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Count in snacks, too, like munching on fruits!