Eating A Rainbow Of Healthy Food

A wardrobe of nothing but one color would brand you bland. So would a monochromatic diet.

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, no better time to remember that it’s important to eat a daily rainbow of fruits and vegetables, from ruby-red grapefruit to bright green apples to berries of a variety of hues. (Way better for you than those beige french fries.)

“Most of the colors provide different nutrients, so if you stick to only one color, you’re going to miss out on a lot of vitamins and minerals,” says Elizabeth Ames, a registered dietitian at the Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos.

“A lot of my patients have two or three things that they really enjoy, and that’s it. It’s important to start kids off young with eating many different colors so they learn to like a variety of fruits and vegetables.”

MyPlate, the USDA’s new icon that replaces the Food Pyramid to guide Americans in eating a healthful diet, recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Any fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruit or vegetable or 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice counts.

Here’s a look at what each color group offers, according to the American Dietetic Association:

DEEP YELLOW/ORANGE

(Pineapple, apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, peaches and sweet potatoes):

Reduces risk of some cancers and supports healthy vision and immunity.

BLUE/PURPLE

(Blueberries, blackberries, purple cabbage, eggplant and plums):

May have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits, keep memory sharp and the urinary tract healthy and reduce cancer risks.

RED

(Beets, cherries, cranberries, red peppers, pomegranates, red onions, watermelon and tomatoes):

May support heart health, immunity and vision and reduce cancer risks.

GREEN

(Broccoli, asparagus, avocados, grapes, green beans, kiwis and leafy greens such as spinach):

May help maintain healthy vision and reduce cancer risks.

WHITE/TAN/BROWN

(Bananas, cauliflower, onions, white potatoes and turnips):

Some contain nutrients that may reduce the risk of cancer and help support heart health. By Jessica Belasco, San Antonio Express-News

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