We have all heard of the importance of eating our fruits and vegetables. But did you know that when it comes to fruit and veggies, you should also be eating the rainbow?
I’m not talking about colorful candies, but instead eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Eating a rainbow can be beneficial to your health and general enjoyment of food in several ways.
First, eating a rainbow introduces a variety of foods into your diet and prevents boredom from eating the same things. Each fruit or vegetable adds something special to a dish– it could be a smell, flavor, or even texture that is unique.
Secondly, having a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on your plate can increase your sensory enjoyment of food. A plate filled with vibrant colors stands out compared to a plate of similarly-colored foods. Food psychology studies also show that foods that look visually appealing are often perceived to be tastier than foods that aren’t.
The most important thing that a rainbow of fruits and vegetables can provide are the health benefits! Contrary to the idea that a single superfood is all you need to benefit your health, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help your body function best.
Plants contain naturally-occurring substances called phytochemicals that possess health-promoting properties. These phytochemicals include the pigments that give fruits and vegetables their color.
Phytochemicals generally have antioxidant function and may protect against the development of chronic diseases.
The nutrient content of fruits and vegetables differ as well, so it is important to eat a variety to get your necessary daily vitamins and minerals.
Different Colors of Fruits and Vegetables and Their Benefits
Every fruit and vegetable contain a large variety of phytochemicals and antioxidants, and it’s impossible to list them all here. This list contains the phytochemicals that are closely associated with fruits and vegetables of certain colors.
Red and Pink
Lycopene is a major phytochemical in red and pink fruits and vegetables. Studies find that it has higher antioxidant activity compared to beta carotene, and can reduce risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Tomatoes are a major source of lycopene and are specifically associated with a decreased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, improved aging, and other health benefits.
Other carotenoids such as alpha carotene and beta carotene are present in this vegetable group.
Beets, red peppers, watermelon, pomegranate, cherries, red radishes, and strawberries fall under the umbrella of red and pink fruits and vegetables.
Orange and Yellow
Fruits and vegetables belonging to the orange and yellow group contain a number of carotenoids. They are rich sources of beta carotene, alpha carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.
These phytochemicals can be beneficial for skin protection, eye health, anti-cancer activity, cardiovascular health, immunity, and more.
Examples of orange and yellow fruits include carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, mangoes, pineapple, and oranges.
Green fruits and vegetables contain chlorophyll, a green pigment phytochemical that can mask the appearance of other phytochemicals. But that doesn’t mean green veggies don’t contain other nutrients!
Green vegetables and fruits include leafy greens like spinach and collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and limes.
Blue and Purple
The main phytochemicals present in blue and purple fruits and vegetables are called anthocyanins. Dark red vegetables such as NatureSweet Eclipse tomatoes also contain anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins are known to have antioxidant properties and are protective for the heart, brain, liver and kidneys.
Common blue and purple fruits and vegetables include blueberries, purple figs, eggplant, grapes, plums, and blackberries.
Some phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables may not have any color at all. For example, many phytochemicals under the flavonoid group are colorless. They may help with lowering blood sugar, reducing inflammation, maintaining brain health, protecting the heart, having hormone-like activities, and protecting against cancer.
Examples of white vegetables that have flavonoids include cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, onions, and bananas.
Looking for a way to add more color to your diet? NatureSweet Eclipse tomatoes provide rich and vibrant colors, which means that you can benefit from its phytochemical content. Better yet, they are full of rich flavor that will make you want to add them to all of your recipes.