Americans are eating fewer fruits and vegetables than ever before; at the same time, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are at all time highs. While you may be aware that health experts recommend eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, did you know that eating a colorful variety is proving to be equally as important? That’s because it is the mixture of antioxidants PLUS naturally-occurring phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables that offer long term health protection against disease!
“Eating the rainbow” also helps prevent food boredom (which can trigger binge eating); reduces sweet cravings and minimizes body fat storage. Read the Colorfood Chart below to see how many foods you can enjoy!
Colorfood Fruits and Vegetables, Phytochemicals and Their Benefits:Sources: The American Cancer Society, The National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
• Phytochemicals: Beta-carotene, bioflavonoids
• Benefits: Boosts immune system; improves vision health; reduces risk of cancer and heart attacks; improves skin, bones, teeth; helps with ovulation regularity
• Found in: Carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkin, butternut squash, cantaloupe, mangos, apricots, peaches, oranges, lemons, tangerines, papaya, nectarines, pineapple, yellow peppers
Color: Red• Phytochemicals: Lycopene, capsanthin, anthocyanins
• Benefits: Reduces risk of heart attack and diabetes; improves circulation and memory function; helps prevent breast, skin and prostate cancer; helps control high blood pressure
• Found in: Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, beets, red apples (with skin), red grapes, red cabbage, red onion, radishes, red peppers, pomegranates
• Phytochemicals: Allicin, flavonols
• Benefits: Boosts immune system; helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure; reduces the risk of heart attack; helps prevent cancer cells from spreading
• Found in: garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, ginger, jicama, chives, mushrooms, apples, pears
• Phytochemicals: Chlorophyll, lutein, zeaxanthin, folate
• Benefits: Helps reduce vision impairment and macular degeneration; supports strong bones and teeth; reduces the risk of cancer/tumor growth; improves joints and reduces inflammation; aids in digestive regularity
• Found in: Leafy greens, lettuces, and green vegetables such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, broccoli, peas, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, arugula, Swiss chard, watercress, kiwi, honeydew
• Phytochemicals: Anthocyanin, quercetin, phenolics
• Benefits: Reduces the risk of cancer and heart attacks; improves longevity and protects against memory loss/cognitive dysfunction; improves joint movement and reduces inflammation; supports urinary tract health; helps reduce high blood pressure, prevents complications from diabetes
• Found in: Blueberries, blackberries, grapes, prunes, plums, raisins, figs, purple kale, purple cabbage, eggplant
Need a few ideas to get started on your colorful new life? Check out the color-loving recipe below! I will share more soon.
Souper Squash Soup
8 - 12 servings
1 large butternut squash
1 small sweet potato
1 small onion
½ head of cauliflower, chopped
8 cups of vegetable stock
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Sea salt - a pinch or to taste
Cinnamon - a pinch or to taste
Maple syrup - a "swirl" / or to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Peel butternut squash and sweet potato. Cut into 2” slices. (Deseed squash)
3. Place in baking dish with olive oil, salt, and cinnamon.
4. Roast in oven for about 20-25 minutes, turn slices over and continue cooking for about 20 more minutes until soft. (Also a great dish as is)
OR EASY VERSION: Pierce whole sweet potato and butternut squash with fork, so the steam will escape, and bake about 45 minutes or until tender. Scoop out contents, deseed squash and set aside.
5. Sauté onions, cauliflower and sea salt in oil on medium heat until soft.
6. Add chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil.
7. Add cooked butternut squash and sweet potato.
8. Cook at medium heat for 10 minutes, lower heat and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.
9. Puree soup with immersion (hand held stick) blender.
10. Add sea salt, and cinnamon to taste
11. Swirl maple syrup into puree
12. Mix again briefly with immersion blender.
13. Serve and Enjoy!
14. For fancy serving, top with a swirl of maple syrup and sprinkle of cinnamon into each bowl.
Health and Happiness Always,