Author: Christina Simmons
I’m a veg head! Whether it’s kale, cauliflower or red grapes I can’t get enough. If you’ve always liked vegetables and fruits you may not understand why I’m bragging about something so small. But if you are like me, someone who is just starting to get excited about health, you’ll understand my enthusiasm.
It took me awhile to find the types of vegetables I liked. I grew up eating the basics: Bananas, apples, and iceberg lettuce. But it turns out, variety is key when it comes to produce. Every golden delicious, red seedless and broccoli floret comes with its own set of micronutrients and the best way to ensure you’re getting them all is to keep your menu diverse.
To gain a better idea of what nutrients are found in certain fruits and veg, check its color. Produce is rich in phytochemicals, non nutrient substances that not only give a food its bright hue but help protect against sun damage and bugs. They also can indicate what minerals and vitamins it will be high in.
Phytochemicals are often lost in food processing which is why it’s important to choose fresh, unprocessed food regularly. If you’re concerned about price, try shopping for eats that are in season.
To further understand what nutrients are found in certain color groups, see my super simple color coded breakdown below:
RED & ORANGE
Foods like sweet potatoes, watermelon, and carrots are high in carotenoids, such as beta-carotene. Carotenoids are converted into Vitamin A by the body which helps with vision, maintenance of bones, reproductive functions, and the growth and repair of body tissues.
Another carotenoid is lycopene which is important for prostrate health. Lycopene is commonly found in red colored foods. Orange fruits and veg are good sources of immune boosting Vitamin C.
Like red and orange foods, those that fall in the yellow pallet tend to be high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Along with being good for the immune system, Vitamin C helps produce collagen. Golden beets, yellow peppers, and pineapple are some of my favorite yellow picks.
Leafy greens and vegetables like broccoli are filled with calcium and fiber. They are also good sources of Vitamin K which keeps bones healthy and regulates blood clotting. It’s also said to help ward off cancer cell production.
BLUE & PURPLE
Deep colored fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, making them a must if you want to maintain youthful skin. They are also high in fiber, Vitamin C, resveratrol which is linked to heart disease and cancer prevention.