It’s pretty obvious that a colorful plate will always be a more attractive one, but what’s not so obvious is that it will also be a healthier one. Different color foods do different things for our bodies so it’s important to vary the colors we put on our plates. The goal? Try eating at least three different colors at each meal.
Red foods are certainly not hard to find. All red fruits and vegetables contain strong antioxidants, which help prevent heart disease and some cancers. Cherries are high in fiber and strawberries are high in vitamin C, which helps strengthen your immune system.
Orange is associated with joy and represents creativity and encouragement. The vibrant color stimulates appetite and is often associated with healthy foods in general; the color is the same name as a fruit! Containing an important nutrient, beta-carotene, orange foods are especially good for your skin, eyes and heart.
Almost a given, yellow is linked to happiness, joy and cheerful feelings. Yellow foods are known to help improve digestion and promote brain function. Star fruit isn’t very common, but it has great health benefits that promote immunity and bone health. Pineapples will be in season this summer and are a great way to boost your vitamin C intake, while bananas are loaded with potassium and electrolytes and are the perfect hangover food.
Green is the universal color for nature and is associated with freshness and health. From cucumbers and spinach to kale and asparagus, if you like any vegetable, you probably like something green. Leafy greens are rich in minerals, nutrients and disease fighting phytochemicals. They are also high in fiber, a key component in digestion and weight maintenance. Try varying the greens you put on your plate because the options are practically endless. Don’t like vegetables? Kiwi is a delicious green fruit that will help keep you heart-healthy.
Blue foods are definitely the least common. This is because blue is actually an appetite suppressant. It makes us less hungry and diminishes the appeal of food. A lot of diet plans encourage eating food on blue plates simply because you won’t eat as much. Blue’s one claim to fame: blueberries. They’re the ultimate brain food. (See Study Snacks for Success)
Scientists have proven that the darker the food, the more antioxidants it contains. This makes purple foods healing and protecting for our bodies. Specifically, purple foods can prevent ulcers, kill cancer cells and decrease liver damage caused by alcohol. Go for eggplant, purple onion or grapes to give your body some of the protection it needs.
With summer right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to try colorful fruits and veggies that are in season.