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A guide to eating colorful fruits and veggies

Patty is a Certified Natural Chef with a Master's degree in Holistic Nutrition and was founder and director of the Patty James Cooking School and Nutrition Center, the first certified organic cooking school and nutrition center in the co...

ROYGBIV healthy colors

Why is it important to eat lots of different colored fruits and vegetables? Because each colored vegetable and fruit has unique properties and there is strong evidence that there are interactions between the colors that are beneficial to your health.

Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

Here are the colors, fruits & veggies you should be eating:

Red Fruits & Vegetables

Red foods contain lycopene that helps rid the body of damaging free radicals, protects against prostate cancer, as well as heart and lung disease. Red foods are loaded with antioxidants thought to protect against heart disease by preventing blood clots and may also delay the aging of cells in the body.

Tomatoes
Beets
Radishes
Red cabbage
Cherries
Cranberries
Pink grapefruit
Red grapes
Red peppers
Pomegranates
Red potatoes
Watermelon
Raspberries
Red apples
Rhubarb
Strawberries

Orange & Yellow Fruits & Vegetables

Orange and Yellow foods contain alpha carotene, which protects against cancer, but also contain beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A protecting the skin against free-radical damage. Beta-carotene is also good for night vision.

Yams and sweet potatoes
Carrots
Yellow apples
Apricots
Butternut squash
Cantaloupe
Carrots
Grapefruit
Lemons
Mangoes
Nectarines
Oranges and Tangerines
Papayas
Peaches
Pears
Yellow peppers
Persimmons
Pineapple
Pumpkin
Yellow summer or winter squash
Sweet corn
Yellow tomatoes

Green Fruits & Vegetables

Green foods contain the chemicals that help ward off cancer by inhibiting carcinogens. Chlorophyll is the component that makes plant green, and is purifying in the body. Many green foods also contain calcium and minerals.

Kale, spinach and other leafy greens
Green apples
Artichokes
Sea vegetables
Asparagus
Avocados
Green beans
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Green cabbage
Cucumbers
Green grapes
Kiwi
Lettuce
Limes
Green onions
Peas
Zucchini

Blue, Indigo & Violet Fruits & Vegetables

Blue, Indigo and Violet foods contain the compound anthocyanins that not only give food their color but also have been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and increasing heart health.

Blueberries
Blackberries
Purple grapes
Figs
Raisins
Plums, fresh and dried
Eggplant

White Fruits & Vegetables

White, though not part of the color of the rainbow, foods contain properties that have anti-tumor qualities, such as allicin in onions as well as other health-improving antioxidants such as the flavanoids. The white foods, bananas and potatoes, contain potassium as well.

Bananas
Onions
Cauliflower
Garlic
Ginger
Jicama
Mushrooms
Potatoes
Parsnips
Turnips

How to incorporate these fruits and vegetables into your daily diet:

Fruits & Veggies for Breakfast

An orange. Sauté 1/2 red pepper, ½ onion, 2 shitake mushrooms, 2 cloves garlic. Add 3 cups leafy greens (spinach leaves are fine) and 3 eggs. Cook until eggs are done and serve.

Strawberries. Oatmeal made with cubed butternut squash or pureed pumpkin, topped with raw walnut pieces and raw pumpkin seeds.

Fruits & Veggies for Lunch

Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with sprouts, lettuce, tomato slices, avocado and grated carrots. Serve with 2 cups of salad made with romaine lettuce, raw cauliflower, broccoli and garbanzo beans.

Spinach salad topped with black olives, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, and cauliflower. Add beans or chicken if you like. Toss with fresh lemon juice and either olive oil or flax oil or a combination of the two. Sprinkle fresh parsley, chopped, on top.

Fruits & Veggies for Dinner

Grilled fish or chicken breast or black beans and brown rice (protein). Coleslaw made with green and red cabbage with red onions and grated carrots. Baked yam.

Pasta primavera made with spinach fettuccini, sautéed red peppers, onions, garlic, zucchini, carrots, and whatever else is in season.

Fruits & Veggies for a Snack

  • 1 cup blueberries and cantaloupe
  • Jicama slices with salsa and celery with hummus or peanut or almond butter
  • Pineapple chunks and banana slices
  • Raw veggies with your favorite dip. Hummus is a good choice.
  • Tangerine slices with herb tea

Remember that you need 5 to 9 cups of vegetables and fruits a day for good health. Make sure at least half of your veggies are raw. And don't forget that juicing can incorporate many colored fruits and veggies easily and may be a good choice for those who may not be able to chew raw fruits and veggies.

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