Friday, May 21, 2010

Color Code Your Way to Good Health

A colorful plate is a nutritionally balanced one; it has some red, some green, maybe a little blue and yellow or orange. It’s when that plate is taken over by bland browns (the color of our beloved meat and taters) that our diet becomes boring – and our bodies start getting bigger.

A government nutritional study recently found that 69 percent of Americans don’t get enough green vegetables on a given day; 78 percent are lacking in red; 79 percent need to grab more orange and yellow; and a whopping 88 percent are short on blue and purple. Keep this in mind: the prettier the food on your plate, the better it likely is for you.

People are omnivores; that means we’re meant to eat all the edible, natural things Mother Nature gave us. Check it out:

• Yellow fruits and veggies are full of vitamin C, which gives us super-human healing powers, fighting disease, healing wounds and even warding off evil free radicals. Pears and pineapples are sweet, delicious sources of yummy yellow.

• Blue and purple foods contain antioxidants like anthocyanins, which can help us fight cancer. Nosh on a handful of blueberries or grapes to get your servings in.

• Red items offer lycopene and flavenoids, which pack an antioxidant punch and also fight cancer, free radicals, heart disease and even aging. Try tomatoes, watermelons, strawberries and red bell peppers.

• Orange foods are great for beta carotene, which helps boost immune function. Of course the main men here are carrots, oranges, and peaches.

• And our old standby green is a nutritional powerhouse, with cancer-fighting phytochemicals, anti-oxidants – and even a special power against macular degeneration, one of the top causes of blindness. Green veggies are many, so if you’re tired of broccoli and salad greens, try asparagus, avocado, kiwis and even green beans fresh from Findlay Market.

Popeye was right (and so was your mom) – spinach and its friends make you healthy and strong! You are what you eat. Do you want to be boring, bland brown, or exciting, beautiful COLORS?

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