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Color Your Diet Healthy - Red, Blue or Green

By Sandy Schroeder

You know the feeling when you are averaging a burger a day and pizza on the weekends. You know you would look and feel better, and weigh less, if you added some fruits and vegetables.

To get started, just hit a farmer’s market once a week or roll down the produce aisle in your market. Fill your basket with the ones you like, and forget to roll down the cookie, pastry or frozen food aisle. Then start looking for the really good stuff in red, blue and green colors. These are the superstars that researchers recommend.

Go Green for Vitamins and Minerals

Salad greens are full of vitamins and minerals to lower cancer risk and keep bones strong. Also a cup of greens checks in with 10 skinny calories. Add greens to your sandwiches and use them as your base for grilled chicken or salmon salads.

Broccoli, cabbage and avocado are special picks. According to researchers, they help to reduce those aging lines and wrinkles.  Try broccoli soup, a spicy cabbage coleslaw or a creamy guacamole.

Green peppers, onions and celery can be added to your salads, along with some new choices like collards, mustard greens, kale, butter lettuce and swiss chard. Start chopping onions and peppers into meat loaves and soups too.

Finally, popular side dishes can be added to the menu with green beans, lima bean soup, creamed spinach, or grilled asparagus.

Power Up with Red and Blue Fruits and Vegetables

Red fruits and vegetables can boost brainpower, and increase endurance and performance.

Nutritionists say beets boost heart and bone health, and fight cancer and memory loss. Mix beets into your salads, side dishes and soups along with red peppers, onions and chunks of baked yam.

Then pick red, blue or purple fruits like plums, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, raisins, and strawberries.  Pick the ones you like and eat them fresh for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Enjoy fruit tarts or pies, blueberry muffins or strawberry smoothies.

Enjoy a Healthy Payoff

With this much vegetable and fruit power coming in, you will be helping your body fight inflammation, lower cholesterol, improve eye health and boost its immune strength. You will also be supporting healthy digestion, and lowering your risk of cancer.

Once you get into the swing of shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables, and looking for new recipes, you may find your burgers and pizza cravings may drop back, too. If not, you can try veggie burgers and pizzas to keep the good stuff working.

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