One of the best ways to keep your body at the perfect weight is by eating a balanced diet with foods from all of the food groups. You should also be eating fruits and vegetables in every color that is seen in the rainbow. Some people call this the “Rainbow Diet,” but it isn’t really a diet at all, it simply involves making sure you are eating foods from each color group. Each color group offers its own nutritional goodies, that not only gives them their like colors, but also contains powerful nutrients that have disease fighting properties.
Our theme for this school year is, “Eat the Rainbow.” Our goal is to inspire our students to think about and select more healthy eating choices.
By making sure you are eating all of the colors, you provide lots of different benefits to your body. Some of these include:
- Strengthening your immune system
- Lowering your risk for certain types of cancer
- Reducing risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Preventing certain eye diseases
- Maintaining urinary tract health
- Maintaining heart health
- Improving memory
- Strengthening bones and teeth
Our girls were required to not only create a poster of rainbow vegetables and fruits, but also prepare an oral presentation that teaches others the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Now let’s look at what specific benefits each color group has to offer:
Red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelon, guava, red/pink grapefruit and papaya are high in lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight heart disease and certain cancers.
Orange vegetables and fruits such as sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes and apricots are high in beta-carotene, another natural antioxidant. Beta-carotene has long been known to be good for the eyes, and is also being studied for its ability to enhance the immune system.
There are lots of different green vegetables to choose from, including collard greens, spinach, kale and broccoli, just to name a few. These green vegetables are rich in phytochemicals and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which have strong antioxidant properties that are being studied for their ability to keep your retina strong.
Bright yellow fruits such as pineapple have a lot of the same phytochemicals that are found in orange fruits and vegetables. They are also high in essential vitamins like Vitamin C and carotenoids, as well as manganese and the natural enzyme, bromelain, which is helpful in healthy digestion.
Blue and purple shaded fruits and vegetables add health-enhancing flavonoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Blueberries, specifically, contain high amounts of Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and fiber.
The white group is made up of vegetables in the onion family such as scallions, chives, garlic and of course the various types of onions. This group contains the powerful phytochemical called allicin. Allicin has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as improve your ability to fight off infections.