There is a lot to be said about the nutritional value of organic, whole fruits and vegetables. Each has individual characteristics and wonderful health-promoting abilities, but it can be difficult to remember which foods do what, and all the benefits of each fruit and vegetable. A way to simplify the healing properties of superfoods and juices is to look at the color. Generally, you want to have a plate, or tall glass, filled with foods that cover the whole spectrum of the rainbow. Here’s a quick breakdown of fruits and veggies by color.
Red- Foods that are red in color help improve circulation. An easy way to remember this is that red foods create heat, like fire that heats up in your body, from your head to your feet. In Chinese medicine they call this “yang” energy. Red foods to add to your diet today include: tomatoes, red cabbage, cherries, red bell peppers, hot peppers, cranberries, watermelon and radishes.
Orange- Foods that have a bright orange color are good to ease pains, and cramping. They also have the ability to strengthen the lungs in a polluted environment. Known to promote vitality and mental clarity they open you up to expansiveness. Also a good source of powerful antioxidants like beta-carotene (the compound responsible for the orange hue) that specifically help protect the eyes from cellular damage. Orange foods to include in your diet today are: oranges, carrots, apricots, pumpkin, sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Yellow- The stimulating color of yellow foods is indicative of its effects on the nervous system. Yellow foods are a great choice in the morning because they can help you get going faster. Yellow foods are known to strengthen nerves, support proper digestion and ease irregularity. Add these foods to your breakfast menu: lemon, pineapple, grapefruit, apple, peach, banana, papaya, mango, yellow squash and corn.
Green- A natural cleanser! Green foods are packed with phyto-nutrients including chlorophyll which helps oxygenate the blood. Nutrient-dense natural tranquilizers and blood cleansers, green foods also provide anti-bacterial properties. Add these green foods to your diet today: all leafy green vegetables (romaine lettuce, kale, collards) sprouts, wheatgrass and avocado.
Blue/Purple- These foods are not only attractive, they also contain a unique class of antioxidants called Anthocyanins which give these dark foods their rich color. Known to help alleviate headaches, and support optimal mental functions. In Chinese medicine these foods are said to have “yin” energy as they cool the spirit. Add these foods to your diet today: blueberries, plum, grapes, purple cabbage, eggplant, and potatoes.
If you are cooking new recipes, or traditional favorites, you can improve your health by incorporating as many colors as possible. Here are a few ideas on how to get more color on your plate:
• Add chopped carrots, tomatoes, or cabbage to any soup or stew.
• Increase flavor of pasta sauce by adding a mixed vegetable medley.
• Make desert sweetly healthy by using tons of colored fruits, and skip the ice cream!
• Turn a sandwich into a more filling treat by using pita bread, and packing in fresh veggies.
• Order a pizza without cheese! Just tell them to pile the veggies up high instead.
• Ask for broccoli, spinach, tomato, garlic, mushrooms, onions, and peppers on your next pizza.
Multi-colored meals are a great way to get all your important nutrients without going hungry. Beef up any meal by adding a veggie from every color group for a filling, and satisfying healthy meal. Try some SkinnyMs recipes and just add your fav veggies, here are some ideas.
Comment below with your favorite food color.