Eat Your Colors

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Continuing with our Granola Week, and all it’s crunchiness, I will reveal to you my personal challenge to myself for 2012.  I don’t call them resolutions, I don’t like that word.  One of the bloggers I read calls it Project 2012 and I really like that because that means it’s something I’m going to be working on all year as opposed to something I’m going to force my self into cold-turkey on January 1st.  It’s about adopting good habits, one little change at a time.

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So here it is, my Project 2012… eat my colors!

 

The last 2 years I have made a concentrated effort to eat more pure food, less processed food, fewer chemicals.  And it paid off.  Now that I have a decent grip on that, I want to concentrate on upping my fruits and veggies intake in 2012.  It’s not that I don’t eat any, I think I do a better job than some people I know, but I want to do better.  I think there’s room for improvement. 

Why does it matter?

Number one reason, hands down, is that colorful foods contain essential nutrients, antioxidants, & phytonutrients that help your fuel your body and help it fight disease and inflammation, including DNA breakdown and cancer.  You can take supplements to try to get these disease-fighters into your body but the best way to do it is through the food that you eat.

How do you guarantee you are getting the right combo of nutrients?  Eat your colors.

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There are a few exceptions, but in general foods of similar color contain similar nutrients, antioxidants & phytonutrients.  At the end of this post I will include some good articles on which colors will give you which phytonutrients but here a few guidelines to get you started (via Fitness Magazine and American Dietetic Assoc.):

Green-   protects your vision, protects against UV damage, fight depressions, and defends against certain cancers. Try avocados, apples, grapes, honeydew, melons, kiwi, limes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as spinach

Red- boosts metabolism, whitens your teeth, increases cardio endurance.  Try cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grape fruit, red grapes, watermelon, beets, red onions, red peppers, rhubarb and tomatoes

Yellow- heals wounds, beats bloat, boosts energy and protects skin from free radicals.  Try apricots, grapefruits, pineapples, yellow peppers, yellow corn

Orange- improve memory, prevent breast cancer, boost immune function and improve muscle function.  Try cantaloupe, mangos, papayas, peaches, carrots, and sweet potatoes

Blue/Purple- fight the flu, improves memory, and improves blood flow.  Try blackberries, blueberries, plums, raisins, eggplant, purple cabbage and purple-fleshed potatoes

White- lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, promotes heart heath and may reduce the risk of stomach cancers.  Try bananas, cauliflower, turnips, garlic, ginger, jicama, onions, potatoes

All that just from eating more fruits and veggies!

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I’m going to give it a go, hopefully I can get a little closer to the recommended daily servings!

Here are some great articles if you want to do a little more reading:

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