Eat the Rainbow!

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There should be an easy way to know what kinds of fruits and vegetables to eat daily to get the healthful benefits we need.  Luckily, there is an easy way.  Just remember, eat a rainbow every day.  When we eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables we get the vitamins and minerals we need to live healthy lives.

Fruits and vegetables contain one of three main types of pigment: carotenoids, which give orange and yellow vegetables their colors; flavonoids, which provide blue, red and cream colors; and chlorophyll, which makes greens green.

Here are some examples of foods to eat in order to eat your daily rainbow:

Red- A lycopene, a carotenoid, is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer, and protection against heart attacks.

red apples (contains vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants)

-tomatoes (contains lycopene)

-cranberries (Prevents and treats UTIs, also a source of antioxidants)

-watermelon (contains lycopene)

-strawberries (contains vitamin C and manganese)

-rasberries (reduces inflammation, pain, cancer risk, heart disease risk, diabetes risk, allergies and age-related macular degeneration)

-cherries (contains melatonin, prevents memory loss, decreases inflammation and lowers cancer and diabetes risk)

-red bell pepper (contains vitamin A, vitamin B6 and improves mood and sleep)

Yellow/Orange: High in beta-carotene, which is particularly good antioxidants.

Oranges (packed with Vitamin C)

Carrots (High in antioxidants, beta-carotenes, Vitamin A, and lowers risks of cardiovascular disease. Great for improving eyesight)

Sweet potato (High in vitamin B6, Vitamin A and C, iron, potassium, magnesium, and beta carotenes)

Mango (High in Vitamin A and C, antioxidants and alkalizes the body)

Cantaloupe (contains beta-carotenes, Vitamin A and C, and a wide range of antioxidants)

Winter squash (high in antioxidants)

Apricots (full of beta-carotenes and fiber)

Green: Green vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, as well as carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids.

Broccoli (high in Vitamin K and C, antioxidants.  Contains cancer and inflammation-fighting components and alkalizes the body)

Kale (contains fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and packed with protein)

Bok choy (contains antioxidants, Vitamin A, B and C, and calcium)

-Spinach (contains iron, Vitamins A, B2, C, and K, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, and folate)

-Brussel sprouts (high in Vitamins C and K, folate, manganese, Vitamin B6, etc)

Blue/Purple: Rich in anthocyanins, which give these fruits their distinctive colors, may help ward off heart disease by preventing clot formation. They may also help lower risk of cancer.

Blueberries (packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants, improves memory and heart health, fights UTIs)

Blackberries (packed with antioxidants and Vitamins C and K)

Eggplant (contain iron, calcium, fiber, and phyto nutrients)

Prunes (high in antioxidants, fiber, and natural laxative, sorbitol)

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If you have kids who are having trouble eating their fruits and vegetables, one suggestion would be to create a chart together (as seen above), where your kid can write in what foods he or she ate that day under each color of the rainbow.  If you have the time and space, you could also plant a “rainbow garden” together.  Get creative!

(Additional Sources: Color Me Healthy)

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