By: Breque Bonner
Since childhood many of us have been told to “eat your green vegetables” but it’s important to make sure all of the colors of the rainbow are included in your diet. Each color provides vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health. It is especially important to make sure seniors have a well balanced diet including a wide variety of colorful foods because they tend to have smaller appetites, which translates into less opportunity to consume these needed nutrients. Children are also notorious for being picky eaters, one way to attempt to expand your child’s list of foods is to introduce one new vegetable/ fruit to them per week and ask them to try it, eventually you are bound to find one they enjoy. Research has shown that taste buds change every seven years, I encourage you to give foods you have not been fond of in the past another try!
Red- Fruits and vegetables that are red provide the body with vitamins A and C, which help promote a healthy immune system. They are also high in manganese and fiber which help support the digestive system. Some delicious red foods include; red bell peppers, tomatoes, cranberries, raspberries, pomegranates and red apples.
Orange- Foods that are naturally orange have similar nutrients to those that are red including; vitamins A and C as well as fiber and potassium. Orange produce include; carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, orange bell peppers, cantaloupes, oranges, peaches and nectarines.
Yellow- We know that bananas are high in potassium and fiber but there are more yellow foods to consume! Squash, yellow bell peppers, corn, mango and apricots also have calcium to help keep bones strong as well as vitamin A and magnesium.
Green-Usually, vegetables that are deeper green in color offer more vitamins than those that are light green. Dark green veggies like spinach, broccoli, asparagus and kale are packed with potassium, fiber, folate (vitamin B9), and vitamins A, C and E. These vitamins help support digestion, and a healthy immune system which are especially helpful for seniors who often see a decline in immunity and digestive health as they age.
Blue/Purple-Produce products of these colors are rich in powerful antioxidants that guard blood vessels and preserve healthy skin called anthocyanins. Fruits and vegetables in this category include; purple cabbage, purple potatoes, eggplant, radicchio, red onions, blueberries, blackberries and Concorde grapes
White-White foods like milk, some cheeses, yogurt, cauliflower, onions and garlic are packed with nutrients including vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus. Yogurt also contains probiotics (healthy bacteria) that supports immune and digestive health.
Hopefully now that you have some new ideas of fruits and vegetables in all colors of the rainbow you will slowly start to incorporate more of them into your diet. Only good can come from having glowing skin, healthy eyes and a strong immune and digestive system!
Information provided in part by:Eating the Rainbow for Good Nutrition By Wyatt Myers April 6, 2011http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/diet-nutrition/eating-the-rainbow-for-good-nutrition.aspx
Information provided in part by:Eat a Rainbow: Functional Foods and Their Colorful Components October 2011 http://www.foodinsight.org/Newsletter/Detail.aspx?topic=Eat_a_Rainbow_Functional_Foods_and_Their_Colorful_Components