Eating colorful fruits and vegetables is important to staying healthy. Fruits and vegetables contain pigments that provide specific benefits.
Nutritionists and food scientists say that eating colorful fruits and vegetables is as important as eating a varied diet to stay healthy. What do they mean by that?
Color on the menu
Eating a colored diet is simply eating a large quantity of fruits and vegetables of various colors. No, eating barbecue-flavored potato chips instead of regular potato chips does not count. Why should you eat fruits and vegetables of different colors? Why is it not balanced to only eat carrots? In fact, the color of the carrot is not orange for nothing. The carrot is orange because it contains beta-carotene, an antioxidant pigment found mainly in orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and apricots. You should eat orange fruits and vegetables for beta-carotene, but it is important to eat other fruits and vegetables to get other important nutrients. Moreover, according to Dr. Richard Beliveau, cancer researcher and author of Foods That Fight Cancer, eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is your best weapon against several cancers.
Five colors, several benefits
In fact, fruits and vegetables can be classified into five groups according to their color. Fruits and vegetables of a particular group contain pigments that provide specific benefits to health. On the IGA website, there is a table showing the five color groups, as well as examples of fruits and vegetables that are found in those groups. Groups of colors include red, yellow & orange, blue & purple, green and white & brown. For example, garlic, onions and mushrooms are found in the white & brown group. Their particular phytochemical is allicin, which would help to prevent certain cancers and which would be good for heart health. Blueberries and eggplant are classified in the blue & purple group. They contain anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that may prevent cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Tomatoes are part of the red group. They contain lycopene, which could reduce the risk to contract prostate cancer. Its effect would be even greater when tomatoes are cooked. Thus, by eating fruits and vegetables that are in the five groups everyday, you can enjoy the benefits of each pigment. It is better to eat the peel of fruits and vegetables, since antioxidants are found there in greater quantity.
Finally, eating fruits and vegetables of various colors brings many health benefits. In addition, adding color on the menu, it’s nice for the eyes and it breaks monotony!