Nutrition in the Rainbow
It has been said time and again that the foods we choose should naturally represent the colors of the rainbow. For fruits and vegetables, more color means greater the potential antioxidant inclusion, and in most cases, more nutritional power. Then it follows, that eating more of these colorful foods can help maximize the health benefits gleaned from the foods you choose.
Natural plant nutrition compounds – also known as phytonutrients – vary by their color and it is important to keep variety in your diet to ensure each of these colors is represented.
- Red – The most common nutrient related to the natural color red is lycopene. Present in tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon and papaya, lycopene has long been associated with health benefits including men’s health and heart health.
- Orange + Yellow – Seen everywhere at this time of year in pumpkins, carrots and sweet potatoes, the orange and yellow color of foods comes from alpha- and beta-carotene, compounds that help keep eyes healthy and the immune system in check.
- Green – Finding the plant compounds lutein and zeaxanthin is easy in green-colored foods, including spinach, kale and collards. Also related to the health of our eyes, an abundance of research links these nutrients to a decreased risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Blue – Blueberries are known for their high antioxidant content – anthocyanin, in particular – and have been linked with our defense against various poor-lifestyle-related diseases.
- Violet – Flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins, are unique elements common to berries, red wine grapes and grape juice and lend their naturally colored blue and purple hues. Their antioxidant properties are related to several health benefits, including heart health.
Brightly colored summer fruit is a prime opportunity to take in the colorful goodness that nature provides for us. Nutrition-conscious people eat-up the widely-available, local farmer’s market-fresh berries, greens, peppers, and lettuces through the warmer months while they last. We can shift to colorful root vegetables and leafy greens in the fall, and seek out new delicious and comforting recipes that help keep up with the change in weather. Winter brings us the best orange, green, pink and yellow citrus fruit, cruciferous cabbages and Brussels sprouts; and in spring time we love leafy Swiss chard and rhubarb.
Remember that sourcing frozen and canned fruits and vegetables is always a great option, as frozen produce is most always flash-frozen to capture the best it had to offer on the day it was harvested. However, if you want your pool of available nutrients to remain balanced year-round — and especially as we head into cold and flu season — consider target-right nutritional supplements that can help support a balance of healthful nutrients in your diet. Seek out blends specific to age range, health benefit, and nutritional goals. Count on Neptune Wellness Solutions to source pure ingredients to meet all of your formulation needs.