March is National NUTRITION Month!!!
I love making memes. I could fill this entire blog with nutrition memes but I will spare everyone. Seriously though, eat ALL the colors! Did you know that the colors of fruits and vegetables have special characteristics and specific benefits?
RED: Provides powerful antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may be beneficial in controlling blood pressure, preventing heart disease, lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), and warding off various types of cancers. Examples of such powerful substances include ellagic acid, quercetin, and lycopene.
ORANGE AND YELLOW: Extremely beneficial to eye health, lowers LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promotes collagen formation, helps build healthier bones by working with certain minerals, and helps balance the pH levels in the body. Examples include zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, lycopene, and potassium.
GREEN: These power-packed foods can help boost the immune system, detoxify the blood, fight free radicals, reduce LDL levels, regulate bowel movements, and promote all-around general health. Some powerful green phytochemicals include chlorophyll, lutein, folate, and zeaxanthin.
BLUE AND PURPLE: For heart health, weight management, lowering blood pressure, fight inflammation, improving motor skills, and cancer prevention. Examples include resveratrol, ellagic acid, vitamin C, and fiber.
Did you notice a trend in the above-mentioned descriptions?
These fruits and vegetables share characteristics and phytonutrients. They all work together to provide a myriad of powerful benefits. This is why you see so many of us nutritionists preaching to “eat the rainbow” or “eat the colors”. You want as many of these nutrients as possible when choosing a meal. Let’s say you are making a salad. Instead of just lettuce and dressing and a smattering of pre-cut vegetables thrown in, choose to make the salad with as many veggies/fruits as you see fit. The traditional salad is no more! Push that big bowl of iceberg lettuce to the side and make room for SOME COLOR!
Choose more nutritious greens, such as a spring mix, romaine, or spinach. Or use cabbage or something more non-traditional lettuce. This recipe from one of my favorite sites, Oh She Glows, uses red cabbage as a base:
There are SO many ways to incorporate colorful fruits and vegetables into your meals and snacks to ensure that you are getting the full benefits of the foods, as well as getting the correct amounts of fresh and raw foods. Choose quality produce, preferably organic, using the “clean 15, dirty dozen” guidelines. Grow your own organically, if possible. Let me tell you I cannot wait until spring to start my garden! This winter seems like it will never end! I am adding organic radishes, beets, and corn to my garden this year, along with the 13 other non-GMO veggies and fruits I planted last year! SO EXCITED!
HAPPY AND HEALTHY EATING!! HAPPY NUTRITION MONTH! 🙂