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Eat the Rainbow

It is tremendously important for individuals of all ages to maintain a nutritious diet. Make sure to consume all five food groups including dairy, meat/poultry, vegetables, fruit, and grain on a daily basis. By continuously having a balanced diet, we set ourselves up for overall better eating habits and a healthy lifestyle.

Many fruits and vegetables get their color from naturally occurring micronutrients. The vitamins that come from these foods are essential for healthy habits. Some of the nutrients and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables range from Vitamin A, C, and E. Most of these fruits and vegetables carry antioxidants, but they don’t affect the coloring of the food.

Fruits and vegetables come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Did you know that certain natural colors of foods carry specific health benefits? Some plants carry phytochemicals that are responsible for these health benefits. We can break the phytochemicals down by color.

Red foods contain lycopene which is beneficial for the heart and prevents the risk of stroke. Orange and yellow foods contain carotenoids which helps our immune system and decreases inflammation. Green foods contain lutein which keeps our bones, teeth, and nails strong as well as protects our eyes by preventing cataracts.

Blue and purple foods contain anthocyanins which help with memory and reduce blood pressure. White and tan foods contain allicin which helps with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It also keeps our bones strong. These are just a few benefits that can be found with each phytochemical. Some benefits can overlap or be seen with multiple colors.

Everyone is encouraged to make half of their plate fruits and vegetables at every meal. Try and make it fun by adding new seasonings if the same things get boring. You can cut fruit into different shapes or add a new seasoning to your vegetable for a different flavor all while making sure to get your nutrients in.

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