5 Reasons Why You Should Eat Multiple Colored Fruits & Vegetables
You’ve probably heard many times how important it is to eat multiple colored fruits and vegetables. The fact is that the different colors in fruits and vegetables indicate different antioxidants in these foods, so it is therefore important to diverse their consumption and consume each color as part of your daily nutrition in order to maximize the nutritional benefits.
We hear all the time that antioxidants fight free radicals, help to protect us from diseases like cancer, visual impairment and even brain function. In this article you will learn about the mechanism of antioxidants and free radicals, and why consuming various colored fruits and vegetables is so important for great health.
What are antioxidants and free radicals?
Antioxidants are the “good soldiers” that fight harmful substances, called free radicals. Free radicals are unstable chemically substances, and as such tend to “attack” other substances in the body and may even produce a chain reaction that causes a lot of damage.
The formation of free radicals in the human body is common. These are formed naturally as a by-product of life processes which involve oxygen. Although we cannot survive without oxygen, the oxygen is also a “double-edged sword”. Although it’s essential to our existence, it tends to react chemically and damage cells, proteins, essential fats and genetic material (DNA).
Our surroundings also contain free radicals, such as in polluted air, tobacco smoke, radiation, toxic waste and various chemicals. Without neutralizing the free radicals by the “good soldiers” – the antioxidants – the “attack” of the free radicals in the oxidation process will increase. The cumulative oxidative damage contributes to the acceleration of the aging process, heart and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, visual impairment, brain dysfunction and more. This is why detoxifying your body is so important and why this subject is close to my heart. If you want to find helpful information about detox, have a look at my e-book The Detox Guide which will teach you how to cleanse and energize your body naturally and safely.
Eating multiple servings of colored fruits and vegetables is one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health. It is important to combine in our diet antioxidant-rich foods, such as vegetables and fruits on a daily basis in order to reinforce the defense of the body against disease development. The recommendation is to consume antioxidants in 5 colors:
Lycopene is an especially effective antioxidant that contributes to protection against cancer, heart and blood vessels disease and more (read my article about lycopene here). This red pigment is found in tomatoes (especially cooked tomatoes), watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava and papaya.
Important Tip: add oil to cooked tomatoes to increase the absorption of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes breaks its cellular structure and increases the availability of lycopene and its absorption. Therefore it is recommended to consume cooked tomatoes and tomato products in addition to fresh tomatoes.
2. Orange and yellow
Beta-carotene and other carotenoids are yellow – orange pigments found in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, persimmon and more. They are known in their strong power to fight cancer. They also serve as a source of vitamin A which is essential for maintaining the normal function of the immune system, the health of skin cells, normal growth and more.
Important Tip: The University of Maryland Medical Center claims that beta-carotene supplements are not a substitute to beta carotene found in foods naturally and may be dangerous. This medical center claims that so far, studies haven’t confirmed that beta-carotene supplements by themselves help prevent cancer. However eating foods with beta-carotene, along with other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, does seem to protect against some kinds of cancer. It is mentioned there that beta-carotene supplements may increase the risk of heart disease and cancer in people who smoke or drink heavily. Those people should not take beta-carotene, except under a doctor’s supervision.
Lutein is yellow-orange pigment found in green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, parsley, cilantro and dill. Lutein has a role in maintaining normal vision and slows down the aging of the eye.
Important Tip: Many green leafy vegetables are also rich in other important antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E. It is therefore recommended to increase the consumption of green leafy vegetables in your diet and combine them on your daily menu.
Sulphur compounds (such as allicin) are found in the onion family vegetables such as onions, garlic, leeks and more. Sulphur compounds fight bacteria, infections and many diseases.
Tip: What smells works! The acrid smell indicates the presence of active ingredients.
5. Purple and blue
Anthocyanins are red-purple pigments found in red cabbage, eggplant, red onion, strawberry, berries, red grapes, pomegranates and more (such as purple rice). The anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that contribute to slowing the aging process including the aging of the brain.
Tip: It is recommended to increase the consumption of various berries when in season and consume them on a daily basis at this time. You can find easy and nutritious berry recipes in my e-book The Healing Berry Guide. This e-book will teach you how to transform your health with berries and will teach you about their fantastic healing properties.
So next time when you think about the word “rainbow”, don’t think about the colorful arch in the sky (although it is beautiful). Think about a rainbow of antioxidants for a great health!
Read more about antioxidants and their amazing health benefits in this article: