Do you know that vegetables are good for us? Of course you do, even if it is just because your mom told you so. Do you know why though, as well as why we need to eat a variety of them?
Eating a diverse array of colorful veggies is a great way to boost your intake of fiber, a variety of micronutrients and phytonutrients.
OPEX Franklin and OPEX Gyms all over the world provide personalized nutrition coaching, but one thing every client can benefit from is eating the rainbow! Clients eat 10 shades of fruit and veggies each day get a gold star. After assessing your nutrition, your OPEX Coach will help you with an initial “colors” goal, whether that be 1 or 10 based on your current veggie eating habits, and teach you how to up your intake and variety over time as needed.
Getting more greens in your diet is always a good start, but did you know that different colors offer different phytonutrients and their associated health benefits? Here’s a breakdown of why it’s important to not just eat your greens, but also eat red, purple/blue, orange/yellow, and brown/white fruits and vegetables.
A powerful antioxidant called lycopene is what give red fruits and vegetables their color. This red pigment not only provides a beautiful color, but is also important for heart health and reduces the risk of cancer.
- Red peppers
- Red Onions
Want to protect against cell damage and reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease? Then be sure to include the purple/blue fruits and vegetables and their antioxidant properties, which offer plenty of anthocyanin and resveratrol.
- Red (purple) grapes
- Red (purple) cabbage
Were you ever told that carrots were good for your eyes? Orange/yellow fruits and vegetables are packed with carotenoids, which are great for cell growth, immune function as well as healthy eyes and skin.
- Golden beets
- Winter squash (butternut, kabocha, delicata, acorn)
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow summer squash
- Orange and yellow peppers
How about some taking in some veggies that actually increases your cancer-fighting enzymes? Green fruits and vegetables contain a wide variety of vitamins, including K, C, A and a great source of calcium, folic acid and potassium. They are colored by chlorophyll and are rich in phytochemicals, isothiocyanates and indoles.
- Green apples
- Green grapes
- Green beans
- Green capsicum
The Brown/white fruits and vegetables are ones we might not think of as often. They contain a range of phytochemicals, including allicin, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties. They are known for their antioxidant flavonoid content, linked to preventing heart disease.
- Daikon radish
Here’s an example of what eating a variety of different fruits and vegetables throughout the day might look like:
Breakfast: Smoothie with banana, spinach, zucchini, protein powder and nut butter (3)
Lunch: Salad of grilled chicken with shredded purple cabbage, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and avocado (4)
Snack: Celery and carrot sticks with hummus (2)
Dinner: Salmon with stir-fried mushrooms, red peppers, onion and garlic (4)
Dessert: Blueberries (1)
That is an over-achieving 14 shades in one day! With a little planning and a weekly trip to the grocery store or farmers market, eating 10+ serves a day isn’t as hard as it may seem at first.
Want an easy way to start on your rainbow journey? Write down your meals for the day and count out your current color intake. Try to beat it by one every week, until you’re a pro at eating the rainbow!
Need a little accountability and help getting creative in the kitchen? Schedule your free consult today and work with an OPEX Franklin Coach to up your color game.