Today is National Eat Your Vegetables Day, but we’ll be celebrating colorfully throughout June since it is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month! Color is nature’s way of telling us what nutrients are in the fruits and vegetables we eat. The natural colors in produce come from phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants and help to boost our immune systems. Eating a variety of colors, from bright citrus fruits to darker, leafy greens, ensures that you’ll get the variety of vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Our salad bar is the perfect place to pile your plate with fruits and vegetables of every color of the rainbow. So, grab a plate and let’s explore what salad toppings will give you a boost of nutrients!
Red. Foods like watermelon, tomatoes and red peppers contain lycopene, a phytochemical that has been linked to protecting the body against prostate and breast cancers. They also contain high amounts of vitamin A and C as well as manganese and fiber.
Orange. Fruits and vegetables that are orange in color contain alpha and beta carotene that help keep your bones, eyes, and immune system in order. They also contain antioxidants that destroy disease-promoting free radicals. Try adding oranges, squash, cantaloupe, carrots, or sweet potatoes to your plate on your next visit.
Yellow & Green. Many yellow and green vegetables are rich in Vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene that help prevent the age-related loss of eyesight. Drizzling a little lemon juice over a bed of lettuce makes a zesty and healthy salad dressing – top with some corn and yellow squash to boost your vitamin intake!
Dark Green. Foods that are green in color are packed with indoles and isothiocyanates that can prevent cancerous cells from forming. Dark greens also contain folate that aids in cell reproduction and lutein which helps eyesight. Try replacing iceberg lettuce with a bed of spinach and top your salad with some nutrient-rich California Avocados.
Deep Purple, Blue & Red. Dark purple, blue, and red fruits and veggies contain anthocyanins and proanthocyanins that are associated with helping the brain function optimally and keeping the heart healthy. To score some of these health benefits, up your intake of strawberries, radishes and raspberries. Also, don’t forget to try our Very Berry Salad with blueberries, goat cheese, and almonds this month!
On your next visit to Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes see how many colors you can load on your plate and us know which colors are your favorites!
Sources: http://www.eatingwell.com/food_news_origins/seasonal_local/eatingwell_in_season/eating_well_by_color?page=6 http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/16-detoxing-cleanse-foods http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/diet-nutrition/eating-the-rainbow-for-good-nutrition.aspx