By Reliv International & Reliv Europe.
For better health, you should include a bright colour scheme on your plate. A recent study has suggested that over 85% of Europeans do not reach the advised goal of 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
The colours of fruits and vegetables are a clue to the important phytonutrients each contains. Phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that can help fight the damage caused to the body’s cells over time that can lead to premature aging and disease. Phytonutrients offer a wide range of health benefits from promoting eye, bone and heart health to supporting immune and brain function.
Whilst experts recommend you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, you should also aim to eat two fruits or vegetables from each of the five colour categories too.
Phytonutrient Colour Categories
Green: Dark green, leafy vegetables are rich in lutein, among other phytochemicals. Others in this family are green beans, avocados, kiwi fruit and green peppers.
Red: Tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon and pink grapefruit contain lycopene, which studies have shown reduces the risk of several types of cancer.
White: Onions (all kinds, including green onions), garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives contain compounds that protect DNA.
Blue/purple: Most berries, especially blueberries, as well as plums, red grapes, cranberries, and pomegranates are in this family that contain some of the most powerful antioxidants such as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins reduce inflammation, protect against cancer and recent studies show positive effects in eyes, arteries and brains.
Yellow/orange: Citrus fruits as well as peaches, nectarines, pineapple and papaya are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, another group of antioxidants that supports the immune system. Other foods rich in carotenes include carrots, pumpkin, mangos, apricots, melon and sweet potatoes. Carotenes help improve communication between cells as well as performing many of the same functions as other antioxidants.
Not all vegetables and fruits fit easily into families. Other plant foods rich in various types of phytonutrients are nuts, seeds, grains, beans, tea and dark chocolate.
All in all, good nutrition is all about colourful choices!
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