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Are You Getting Enough Color in Your Diet?
Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiberóthe good guys in the food we eat. They make our bodies strong to help us fight disease and slow the natural aging process. So how do you know if you are getting enough of these food superheroes? Think color!
Bananas are well-known to be an excellent source of potassium. They are also high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese. One large banana contains 15% of the recommended daily allowance of fiber.
At just over 6 calories one-quarter cup of raw cauliflower provides almost 20% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C and is high in fiber. Cauliflower is also an important source of folate. A member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, it is recognized as possessing cancer-fighting properties.
Adding onions and garlic to your meals can boost calcium intake, and provide chromium, a trace mineral important in maintaining blood sugar levels. Regular consumption of onions and garlic has been shown to significantly lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Americaís favorite white vegetable, the potato, is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B6, niacin and thiamin. (Donít think that makes it okay to pig-out on fast-food fries, or bury your baked potato under butter and sour cream! You know better.)
Yellow fruits such as pineapple and papaya contain large amounts of both vitamin C and vitamin A giving a generous boost to your immune system. One half cup of pineapple delivers almost half the daily recommendation of manganese yet weighs in at only 40 calories.
Think yellow bell peppers for vitamin C. A one-half cup serving provides 300% the daily recommendation of vitamin C. Thatís a lot of antioxidant power.
Most of us associate beta-carotene, one of the earliest identified anti-oxidants, with carrots. But you can also find beta-carotene in oranges, apricots, squash and other orange fruits and vegetables.
Not just candied yams at Thanksgiving anymore, sweet potatoes are an amazing package of vitamins and minerals as well as being high in fiber. One baked sweet potato with provide significant amounts of phosphorus, vitamin E, thiamin, iron, copper, magnesium, pantothenic acid, potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin A (over 1,000% RDA).
Avocados have gotten a bad reputation as being high in fat. But they are also high in fiber, folate, potassium, pantothenic acid, vitamin C and vitamin B6.
Go green, like honeydew melons, green peas, spinach, and collards to supply important carotenoids that reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Also included in the green group of vegetables are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, which are, like cauliflower, cruciferous vegetables and contain powerful carcinogen blockers.
Add tomatoes to your diet to provide lycopene, an antioxidant associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. Surprisingly, cooked tomato products are richer in lycopene than uncooked tomatoes.
You can also get the benefits of lycopene from watermelon and pink grapefruit, plus vitamins A and C.
Donít peel your apples! The skin of a Red Delicious is packed with two very powerful phytochemicals called epicatechin and procyanidin. Apples are also rich in pectin, a fiber that has a high capacity to absorb water and improve regularity.
Eat purple grapes or drink Concord grape juice to provide quercetin in your diet. Quercetin has been identified as an important phytochemical in the prevention of blood clots.
Blueberries, plums, purple cabbage, eggplant and purple onion provide another phytochemical group prevalent in purple food, anthocyanins. These anti-oxidant phytochemicals have been linked with preserved memory and brain function during the aging process.
Add color to your plate. Your eyes will enjoy the sight and your body will be receiving important nutrients vital for optimum health.
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