Today is Day 12 of 31 Days of Surviving Chronic Illness. Day 1 starts here.
Continuing with this theme of giving our bodies what it really wants, an easy way to begin incorporating nutritious foods into our diets is to start adding in foods that have natural color.
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.
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!
Here are some great articles if you want to do a little more reading:
- My Plate from the USDA
- Eat Your Colors from Women’s Health
- Add More Color To Your Diet from Fitness Magazine
- Phytonutrients from WebMD
**This post was originally posted January 4, 2012