Did you know that adding color to your meals can help you live a longer, healthier life? No, eating a handful of colorful M&M’s or Skittles doesn’t count!

Eating a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables help to play a role in ensuring you are getting enough essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and more. Each color provides various health benefits and no one color is superior to another, which is why having a balance is most important. Eat the rainbow!

Here’s the breakdown (pun intended) of fruits and vegetables by color and which nutrient they are known for.

Red

Rich in lycopene which gives food their red and pink color. Helps to fight free radicals and may protect against prostate cancer as well as heart and lung disease.

Found in: strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cherries, apples, beets, watermelon, red grapes, red peppers, and red onions

Orange & Yellow

Provide beta cryptothanxin, which supports intracellular communication and may help prevent heart disease.

Found in: carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, oranges, bananas, pineapple, tangerines, mango, pumpkin, apricots, winter squash (butternut, acorn), peaches, cantaloupe, and corn

Green

Rich in sulforaphane, isocyanate, and indoles. These are cancer-blocking chemicals that help stop carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds).

Found in: spinach, avocados, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kiwi fruit, collard greens, green tea, and green herbs (mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, and basil)

Blue & Purple

Full of powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. These are believed to slow cellular aging and help fight against blood clots.

Found in: blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, Concord grapes, raisins, eggplant, plums, figs, prunes, lavender, and purple cabbage

White & Brown

Contain antioxidant flavonoids, such as quercetin and kaempferol. The onion family contains allicin, which has anti-tumor properties.

Found in: onions, cauliflower, garlic, leeks, parsnips, daikon radish, and mushrooms

The next time you sit down to enjoy your meal, look to see how many colors you have on your plate. If it’s looking a little dull, think about what you can ADD.  Maybe a handful of berries to breakfast, a colorful salad for lunch, or at dinner including a serving of both fruits and vegetables.

Healthy Eating,

Meredith

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