Food in it’s natural form comes in a variety of colors. Each food color has unique properties and tastes. Try eating a rainbow of colors and see how great it is to eat real food.
BLUE AND PURPLE
Blackberries, blueberries, concord grapes, blue potatoes, blue corn, purple cabbage, eggplant, purple cauliflower.
INDOLES: These are derived from sulfur compounds in cruciferous vegetables and can help our bodies detox on a daily basis.
ANTHOCYANINS: This antioxidant can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to help improve brain function and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
RED AND PINK:
Grapes, grapefruit, watermelon, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, apples, currants, pomegranates, tomatoes, red bell peppers, chili peppers, beets, radishes, red potatoes, kidney beans, red quinoa, red chard.
LYCOPENE: This powerhouse antioxidant is responsible for the red pigment in many fruits and veggies. It helps rid the body of free radicals that can cause cellular damage. Lycopene can also be effective in preventing strokes, heart disease, and prostate cancer.
VITAMIN C: This antioxidant is needed for the growth and repair of our tissues including bones, teeth, and cartilage. It is also naturally talented at wound healing and scar tissue formation. Since it’s a water-soluble vitamin, it’s not stored in our body, so we need to replenish our bodies’ stash every day.
BETA-CAROTENE: This contributes to about 50 percent of the vitamin A in a typical American diet and it can be used to treat asthma, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. The end product, vitamin A, is helpful for our muscles, skin, and eyes.
Papaya, tangerines, oranges, cantaloupe, mangoes, peaches, nectarines, turmeric, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, pumpkins, orange bell peppers, orange beets.
CURCUMIN: The antioxidant properties of curcumin can help fight inflammation in your body.
BETA-CAROTENE: Orange foods are high in beta-carotene and vitamin C.
ALPHA-CAROTENE: This converts to vitamin A in our bodies and helps boost immunity.
NARIGENIN AND HESPERIDIN: These flavonoids can fight inflammation.
Kiwi, honeydew, green apples, avocados, watercress, arugula, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, parsley, cilantro, leeks, celery, zucchini, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, artichokes, scallions, green tea, lettuce.
CHLOROPHYLL: This is present in all green plant-based foods and can help decrease the risk of liver cancer.
ISOTHIOCYANATES: These are found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts; they help detoxify the body.
ZEAXANTHIN: A carotenoid that is crucial to eye health. This can also prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Our bodies cannot synthesize all of the zeaxanthin that it needs, which is why it’s so important to eat dark leafy greens, which contain high amounts of this antioxidant. Dark leafy greens also contain calcium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, and folate.
Pineapple, lemons, star fruit, corn, yellow tomatoes, garbanzo beans, summer squash.
BROMELAIN: This enzyme can help with indigestion and is a great relief if you have trouble digesting certain foods.
LUTEIN: This can help keep your eyes healthy and protect against cataracts.
LIMONOIDS: These can help lower cholesterol and protect against certain cancers.
Amie Valpone is a personal chef, nutritionist, recipe developer, food photographer, and writer specializing in simple ‘clean’ recipes for the home cook. She works with people as a chef, food allergy guide, and healthy pantry stylist to guide clients through their transition into a healthier lifestyle.