Eat a Rainbow, Stay Healthy

October 03, 2016

It was Dr. Bernard Jensen who recommended and designed the famous platform for eating healthy. Basically, just eat a rainbow every day! It sounds silly, but the idea is extremely effective in maintaining good health and keeping your energy up.

What many people don't realize is that every pigment found in the wide array of fruits and vegetables we consume provides specific protections for that plant while it grows. As a result, people are also privy to similar benefits when they eat these foods. And because a lot of kids are picky eaters who don't get the nutrients they need, arranging dinner in a colorful display is a fun way to encourage them to eat their vegetables.

So what do these colors do to keep you healthy? Keep reading to find out.

Red Pigments

Red fruits and vegetables carry important phytochemicals such as lycopene. Studies have shown foods that are rich in lycopene increase our ability to ward off ailments like heart disease and even some cancers. Lycopene also helps us to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Some examples of lycopene-rich foods include tomatoes and tomato-based products like tomato juice, tomato soup, and spaghetti sauce, pink grapefruit, and watermelon. You can also find good doses of lycopene in chili peppers, radishes, red onion, raspberries, red cabbage, rhubarb, red potatoes, red grapes, beets, red peppers, strawberries, red apples, and cherries.

What to make for dinner:

  • Nachos with homemade salsa
  • Roasted red pepper soup
  • Any pasta with tomato sauce
  • Tomato soup
  • Rhubarb, cherry, raspberry, or apple pie for dessert

raspberries

Orange and Yellow Pigments

Foods with orange and yellow pigments are rich with powerful antioxidants like vitamin C. They also contain bioflavonoids, carotenoids, and phytochemicals. Those with a deep orange color contain an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which is believed to help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. It's also thought to boost the immune system, promote good eyesight, and slow down aging. You can get these benefits by eating foods like yellow peppers, mangoes, grapefruit, carrots, corn, apricots, yellow apples, cantaloupe, lemons, oranges, peaches, papaya, pineapple, yellow raisins, nectarines, and pumpkin.

What to make for dinner:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Hawaiian pizza
  • Grapefruit, carrot, mango, or orange juice
  • Fresh squeezed lemonade
  • Apple crisp
  • Pumpkin or peach pie for dessert

 

Green Pigments

When your doctor tells you to eat your greens, he has good reason. Green vegetables contain powerful phytochemicals like indoles and lutein, and leafy greens have alkalizing chlorophyll, which helps to boost your energy levels. Lutein is an antioxidant that has shown the ability to help retain good vision. Indoles are believed to help protect against certain cancers. They may not always look appetizing and appear bland, but they can be surprisingly delicious. So get your greens by eating foods like kiwi, limes, pears, zucchini, peas, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, green grapes, asparagus, artichokes, green apples, avocados, broccoli, celery, green beans, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, turnips, and kale.

What to make for dinner:

  • Spinach lasagna
  • Fruit salad
  • Cabbage rolls
  • Chinese stir-fry
  • Steamed kale
  • Sub sandwiches with lettuce, spinach, and avocado toppings

green

 

Blue and Purple Pigments

Fruits and vegetables that are blue or purple in color have antioxidants like phenolics and anthocyanins, which are thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risk in addition to having anti-inflammatory benefits and slowing down the aging process. Foods rich in phenolics include plums, raisins, prunes, eggplant, boysenberries, black cherries, purple asparagus, red grapes, and cranberries. Anthocyanins can be found in purple grapes, blackberries, blueberries, elderberries, and beets.

What to make for dinner:

  • Yogurt mixed with blue or black berries
  • Cranberry juice
  • Blueberry smoothie
  • Oatmeal sprinkled with berries
  • Peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich

blue berries