I know it’s not like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but the benefits of eating the colors of the rainbow are far worth their weight in gold. Ensuring you eat the colors of the rainbow offers many health benefits, among them helping to reduce cancer risks and vitamin deficiencies as well as healthy weight maintenance. And in Arizona, with our extended growing season, it’s easy to find a diverse selection of colors in produce.
I’m sure everyone remembers from grade school, the anacronyms for the colors of the rainbow: ROYGBIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). Any way you arrange the colors on your plate is fine, although studies have shown that the more attractive the food is, the more you want to eat it.
In the cool season (October through March) here in Arizona, there are plentitudes of produce available for that rainbow of flavors:
Red Fruits and Vegetables
Contain nutrients such as lycopene, ellagic acid, Quercetin, and Hesperidin, to name a few. These nutrients reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, reduce tumor growth and LDL cholesterol levels, scavenge harmful free-radicals, and support join tissue in arthritis cases.
RED: Beets, radishes, apples and persimmons
Orange and Yellow fruits and vegetables
Contain beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene, potassium, and vitamin C. These nutrients reduce age-related macula degeneration and the risk of prostate cancer, lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, promote collagen formation and healthy joints, fight harmful free radicals, encourage alkaline balance, and work with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones.
ORANGE: Sweet potatoes, oranges, carrots and pumpkin
YELLOW: Winter squash, lemons and some variety of apples
Green vegetables and Fruit
Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion time, support retinal health and vision, fight harmful free-radicals, and boost immune system activity.
GREEN: Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Yuma Lettuces, Green onions, Spinach, Peas and Boy Choy
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables
Contain nutrients which include lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. Similar to the previous nutrients, these nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, act as an anticarcinogens in the digestive tract, and limit the activity of cancer cells.
BLUE /INDIGO/VIOLET: pomegranates, grapes, cabbage, grapes and Swiss Chard
So, even without the pot of gold, eating the rainbow servings of produce has a better payout: your health. And Arizona farmers make it easy to fill that rainbow of colors up. To find a farmer’s market or farm near you, please visit www.fillyourplate.org . You can also find delicious recipes to serve up those rainbow fruits and veggies.
Enjoy all the colors of your health!