February 18, 2014 Kristin Melver

Tasty Tuesday – Eat the Rainbow

Kelly Klaczkiewicz, RD, CSP

When revamping diet and nutrition goals, it’s easy to fall into the trap of negative thinking that these new goals most likely somehow involve deprivation.  No way!  Don’t focus on what you can’t eat, focus on what you can… I say eat more!  What?!

Eat more fruits!  Eat more vegetables!  Eat more bright colors!  Eat the rainbow!

I’m not saying go vegetarian, but nudge meat off the center of the plate and challenge yourself to eat 5-9 servings of fruits or vegetables per day… this can actually be easily accomplished by incorporating just 1 serving into every meal and snack.

All fruits and vegetables have health benefits:  Fiber fills you up and keeps you regular.  Vitamins & minerals found in fruits and vegetables are fresher and more powerful than your multivitamin.  However, when it comes to phytonutrients, you get the biggest bang for your buck by choosing the very brightly colored fruits and veggies!  What are phytonutrients?

Phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) are bio-active plant derived compounds associated with positive health effects… they act not only as antioxidants, but much more!  Simply put, it’s the icing on the cake when it comes to the benefits eating your fruits and vegetables.

Let’s rundown the fruit & vegetable rainbow:

  • Red – Lycopene is associated with protecting the skin from sun damage and decreasing the risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
  • Orange & Yellow – Carotenoids may help improve your immune function and lower your risk for heart disease, vision problems and cancer.
  • Green – Chlorophyll gives green fruits and veggies their color.  Indoles may lower your risk for cancer.  Lutein helps prevent vision problems.
  • Blue & Purple – Anthocyanins have antioxidant properties that help limit damage caused to your cells by free radicals and may also lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, macular degeneration and memory problems.
  • White – Anthoxanthins may help lower your risk for heart disease and cancer.  Allicin may help lower your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer and heart disease.

(Looking for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?  Choose non-starchy vegetables as the lowest calorie route to help manage your weight).

If you’re reading this blog and already hooked on Josh’s workout routine, then take the next step and embrace the eating piece.  I challenge you to incorporate more phytonutrients and antioxidants into your diet!  With the combination of regular exercise and a plant-based diet, you’ll begin making your fitness goals and dreams a reality!

“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” –Lyman Frank Baum

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