Your Paint-Taste-Palate

National Nutrition Month is well underway in week number two of March.  How did you kick off this month? Let me encourage you to eat with the rainbow- adding color to your taste palate. 

For this week I have one word for you– Phytochemicals.  In the last couple of decades, scientists have discovered that phytochemicals is another great reason, aside from low cal/high fiber, to fill your plates with fruits and vegetables. All plants contain these phytochemicals, serving as protection from such things as UV rays and insects. Adding fruits and vegetables to our diet allows for our ingestion of physochemicals as well- providing not only yummy taste, but protection to our bodies! Each phystochemical plays a role in the body in different ways.  Acting as antioxidants, phytochemicals protect us from harmful damage to our cells that can lead to multiple health issues, while others work by boosting the immune system- Nice.

Here is my list, in coordination with the American Dietetics Association, for Eating with the Rainbow.

Green produce indicates are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin- the antioxidants that may help promote healthy vision. Cruciferous vegetables- like broccoli- contain indoles and isothiocyanates; linked to reducing cancer risks. Leafy greens are also rich in beta carotene.

Fruits: avocado, green apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi and lime
Vegetables: artichoke, asparagus, collards, chard, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as spinach

Orange colored fruits and vegetables contain alpha and beta carotene.  When converted by the body into the active form of vitamin A, we are able to keep our eyes, bones and immune system healthy– also reducing the risk of some cancers.
Fruits: apricot, cantaloupe, mango, papaya, peach and pineapple
Vegetables: carrots, pumpkin, yellow pepper, yellow corn, winter squash, and sweet potatoes

Purple, deep red, and blue options are packed full of  anthocyanins and proanthocyanins- antioxidants linked to anti-aging benefits and may help with maintaining brain function, memory, urinary tract health and again, reduced cancer risks.
Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, plums, raisins, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries
Vegetables: eggplant, purple cabbage, radishes

Red contain lycopene and indicates produce that may help keep a healthy heart, vision, immunity and may reduce cancer risks.
Fruits: cherries, guava fruit, pomegranate, pink grape fruit, and watermelon
Vegetables: beets, red onions, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes

White, tan and brown foods may promote heart health and…like all the others, reduce cancer risks.
Fruits: banana, brown pear, dates and white peaches
Vegetables: cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, turnips, white-fleshed potato and white corn

To get maximum disease-fighting power, choose foods that feature all colors of the rainbow. The USDA suggests to have orange (2 cups per week) and dark green (3 cups per week) produce, both good sources of vitamin A and other important nutrients.

All in all- eat a sample or two/day of any fruit and vegetable- and your off to the right start.  Already eat plentiful fruits and vegetables?  Peruse the produce section of your grocery store- seek out something new and different  you’ve never tried before.  Come home and search the web for recipes and ideas using that fruit or vegetable.  Could make fun for the entire family!

Let me know what you pick! I’d LOVE to hear!

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