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The Benefits of Different Colored Fruits & Vegetables

October 15, 2010


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Since I was young, I was always taught to eat 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Fruits and vegetables are whole foods that are rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fiber and enzymes that are all essential for health. Because fruits and vegetables are created in nature it is easier for the body to break down and use the essential nutrients throughout the body. In addition fruits and vegetables help in the prevention of heart disease, strokes, diverticulitis, some cancers, cataracts, macular degeneration, vision loss, obesity and helps control blood pressure.

With a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables, it is hard to overlook the diverse range of colors available to consume. Each color contains unique health components essential for our health. The colors signify different beneficial ingredients for the body. It is important to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get the maximum number of nutrients.

            Red fruits and vegetables receive their coloring from phytochemicals carotenoids, and flavonoids, which are both antioxidants. Lycopene and ellagic acid are both part of the carotenoids and anthocyanins, Quercetin and Hesperidin are flavonoids, and are all found in red fruits and vegetables. Some of the health benefits from red fruits and vegetables include reducing the risk of cancer especially prostate cancer, preventing heart disease, reducing the damage from free radicals, improving heart health, lowering blood pressure, helping memory function, improving urinary tract health, reducing LDL cholesterol and supporting joint tissues. Red fruits and vegetables include tomatoes, watermelon, red grapes, cranberries, strawberries, red beets, red peppers, pink grapefruit and many more.

            Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are colored by a phytochemical called carotenoids. The essential nutrients in yellow and orange colored foods are beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, Lycopene, potassium, vitamin C and folate. The benefits include preventing cancer and heart disease, maintaining and strengthening healthy ears, reducing age-related macular degeneration, improving immune system function, fighting harmful free radicals, building healthy bones, and promoting collagen formation for healthy skin. Some orange fruits and vegetables include oranges, tangerines, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, cantaloupe and many more. Yellow fruits and vegetables include lemons, yellow corn, summer squash, yellow apples, pineapple and many more.

            Green fruits and vegetables contain nutrients such as chlorophyll, sulforaphane and indoles, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The health benefits of green fruits and vegetables include preventing cancer, improving vision, maintaining strong bones and teeth, preventing cataracts and eye disease, preventing osteoporosis, lowering blood pressure, lowering LDL cholesterol, boosting immune function, and removing harmful free radicals from damaging cells. Some green fruits and vegetables include avocados, green beans, broccoli, cucumbers, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, lettuce, limes, green peppers and many more.

            Blue and purple fruits and vegetables get their color from the phytochemical anthocyanins. They contain nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid and Quercetin. Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and have amazing anti-aging properties. In addition they support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium, improve circulation, prevent blood clots, reduce risk of cancer and stroke, prevent heart disease, and healthy aging. Some blue and purple fruits and vegetables include eggplant, blueberries, figs, plums, purple grapes and raisins.

            White or greenish fruits and vegetables are colored by phytochemicals called anthoxanthins. They contain nutrients such as allicin, beta-glucans, EGCG, SDG, and lignans. White fruits and vegetables have health promoting chemicals that are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. The health benefits of these fruits and vegetables activate natural killer B and T cells, reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers, balance hormone levels, prevent cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Some examples of white fruits and vegetables are bananas, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, white nectarine, white peaches, onions, shallots and many more.

 

So now that you know all of the health benefits you can be sure to include a wide variety of different colored fruits and vegetables throughout your diet.