In general, the more variety of colors on your plate, the better.
Written by: Cielestia Calbay
A package of Skittles won’t earn you a gold star with your doctor, but other colorful options might.
Experts say eating fruits and vegetables of different colors is one of the best and easiest ways to maximize our intake of a broad range of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
“Eating color gives you a wide variety of valuable nutrients your body needs to function properly,” said Tara Gidus, a marathon runner, registered dietitian and team dietitian for the Orlando Magic.
We asked Gidus for tips on how to shop for vibrant produce and her picks for the best fruits and veggies to buy in the color wheel.
1) Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables when in season as prices tend to be lower
2) Shop at local farmer’s markets when you can. Local varieties are sometimes fresher and sometimes even cheaper than local grocery stores.
3) Handle fresh produce carefully. Bruised and damaged fruits and vegetables decay more quickly.
4) Produce loses nutrients the more it sits around. Try to buy fresh and use within a week.
Popeye was right. This leafy green vegetable is packed with nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, folic acid and riboflavin. The folic acid in spinach makes it very valuable prior to and during pregnancy.
Low in fat, squash derives an ample dose of dietary fiber. Its tangerine and yellow hues indicate its most noteworthy health perk – carotenoids. Beta carotene has been shown to protect against heart disease, as well as help as a deterrent against some cancers and macular degeneration.
Packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of an orange, this tiny, bright green fruit has been shown in some studies to be effective against respiratory related health problems including wheezing, asthma, shortness of breath and coughing.
This bright red veggie is an excellent source of vitamin C that helps strengthen your immune system. This is important in preventing infections as well as some cancers. It also helps increase iron absorption by your body.
This tropical fruit contains higher antioxidant content than blueberries, cranberries and even red wine!
This fuzzy fruit contains a high amount of potassium that aids in proper electrolytic functions and keeps the brain, heart, kidneys and muscle tissues in good condition.
The presence of the phytonutrients nasunin and chlorgenic acid are what provide eggplant with antioxidant potential. Nasunin, which is most commonly found in the skin of eggplants, is a phytonutrient that helps protect brain cell membrane lipids from damage, thereby improving cellular communication.
This plump, round fruit contains a high amount of polyphenols which not only give concord grapes their vibrant color, but also act as antioxidants and deliver benefits to promote overall health. They're best consumed as concord grape juice.