While watching one of the hundreds of fast-food commercials on TV, it dawned on me that the most colorful element of most of these foods seems to be the box!
Honestly, the combination of tan chicken fingers, pale brown burgers, beige French fries and white potatoes is about as dull and unappealing as the carbohydrate/preservative coma that eating these foods puts you in!
For me, eating is about not only about taste and smell, but sight as well. A more colorful plate is more appetizing, and as studies show, significantly more nutritious!! And the best foods to get your “colors’ from naturally are fruits and vegetables.
The pigments responsible for plant color belong to a class of chemicals known as antioxidants, and plants make antioxidants to protect themselves from the sun's ultraviolet light. (ultraviolet light causes free radicals to form within plant cells which can begin to destroy parts of the plant). Antioxidants stop free radicals in their tracks, shielding cells from harm. And typically, an intensely colored plant has more of these protective chemicals than a paler one does.
According to ADA spokesperson Karen Ansel, “Adding a splash of colorful seasonal foods to your plate makes for more than just a festive meal. A rainbow of foods creates a palette of nutrients…”.
Green produce gives you all-day energy and may help promote healthy vision and reduce cancer risks. Fruits like avocado, apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi and lime,and vegetables like artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as spinach are great choices.
Orange and deep yellow fruits, such as apricot, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, papaya, peach and pineapple, and vegetables like carrots, yellow pepper, yellow corn and sweet potatoes, can detoxify your body and help generate power. They contain nutrients that promote healthy vision and immunity, and reduce the risk of some cancers.
Purple and blue options, including blackberries, blueberries, plums, and raisins, along with eggplant, purple cabbage, and purple-fleshed potatoes, can improve your circulation and may have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits and help with memory, urinary tract health and reduced cancer risks.
Red produce, like cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grape fruit, red grapes and watermelon, and beets, red onions, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes, are a great source of protein and can help vision and immunity and may reduce cancer risks and maintain a healthy heart.
Even black foods, because of their intense “color”, have nutritional benefits. Black sesame seeds are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, proteins and fatty acids; The acetic acid in black vinegar reduces hypertension, LDL cholesterol and improves blood circulation; black soy is rich in proteins, fiber and anthocyanins; and Vitamin B, Niacin, Vitamin E, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Zinc are found in much higher levels in black rice compared with white rice.
Eating is a multi-sensory experience, and what you see in front of you prepares you for what you are about to smell and taste! Soo do yourself a favor and add some color to your plate. Doing so will add more years to your life!
For more info, check out www.eatright.org/nnm