The Challenge: Stock your refrigerator with an entire rainbow of produce and reap the benefits the phytochemicals have to offer.
Phytochemicals: are chemicals found naturally in plants they have not been deemed as “essential”, but may protect against disease.
Goal: add eat least two different colors everyday to your meals.
The natural green pigment is called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll can be powerful in helping to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness if untreated. Leafy greens and broccoli are excellent sources of folate, a B Vitamin that prevents birth defects.
- Green apples
- Green beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Green cabbage
- Green grapes
- Honeydew melon
- Green onions
- Green pepper
Are colored by natural pigments called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. They also may reduce the risk for cancer, stroke, and heart disease. More recently studies have suggested that eating more from this group can lead to healthy aging.
- Purple grapes
The white plants are pigmented by anthoxanthins. Anthoxanthins may contain other chemicals such as allicin, which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Other members of this category are rich in the mineral potassium.
As you try to incorporate more color in your diet preserve those nutrients by:
- Limiting peeling to preserve fiber content.
- Steaming, broiling, microwaving or cooking in small amount of water.
- Avoiding boiling. Prolonged exposure to water and heat can break down chemicals unstable to high temperatures.
- Serving foods promptly. The longer they stand, the more nutrients are lost
Check back in my next blog to see how you can incorporate more from each color to get the most from your diet!