Why It's Important to Eat the Rainbow
By Genevieve Smith
Variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to nutrition, you don’t just need a dash of it -- you need the whole enchilada. If you find yourself wondering how healthy your lifestyle is, turn to this easy check: Are you eating the rainbow? Whole foods like produce, nuts and seeds, and dairy come in a variety of native colors as nutrients lend a colorful and wholesome diversity.
Eating the Rainbow
Including color in your diet can ensure you’re getting enough fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and the like, and help to protect against illness, bone density loss, digestive problems, and with weight management. Let’s dig in.
Red and Purple - In whole, unprocessed foods, red pigmentation can be attributed to different things, but all of them are nutrient wins. Cell-protective lycopene is to thank for tomatoes’ bright color, antioxidant compounds lend fibrous and vitamin-rich pomegranates a ruby sheen, and the naturally-antioxidizing betalain pigment helps beets be your friends when it comes to fighting cell damage. The list goes on, but there’s only so much room!
Orange and Yellow - Carotenoids are one of the culprits of our sunnier-colored produce. They protect the plants they are present in to allow them to flourish and fight photodamage, and once in the body, they fight off cell damage and rally for eye health. In the form of beta-carotene, the body can convert this antioxidant into Vitamin A, which makes it a double win and the reason carrots have their good name. Other carotenoids act to absorb harsh blue and near-ultraviolet light waves to protect vision.
Green - While green produce comes with a host of benefits, this article can only be so long. Plants contains phytonutrients, compounds known to help fight off disease and degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin are present in kale, spinach and collards and help fight cataracts and deterioration of the retina. Glucosinolates show up in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage and may help to halt cancer growth. Green tea is rich in catechins, which may help block certain types of cancer.
Whole foods are an abundant source of the nutrition your body needs to stay healthy. While the antioxidants and phytochemicals covered above are not exclusive to each color group, they are dominant there. So remember, the surest way to harness the powers of nutrition and keep your cells in tip-top shape is to chase the rainbow.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Meridian, Idaho.