When I saw Melissa's Produce post about 7-day challenge to focus on different colors of food, I was intrigued. Read all about the challenge: here.
Do you remember the first time you said or did something – maybe with pride, maybe with horror – and you saw your parents? Last week, as we were cooking through our CSA box, D, my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf, looked at his plate and observed, “Mommy, there are a lot of colors on this plate.” Out of my mouth came, “It’s always good to eat a rainbow.” Oh, my! I have become my mother.
My mom would tell me: You don’t have to have all of the colors on each plate. Just make a concerted effort to include several colors throughout the day.
All in all, my mom is pretty cool. I don't think I would have said that when I was a teenager, but as I hit my mid-40s, I think she rocks. Here she is - taking a swimming lesson from the boys, at a ukulele flashmob with R, and with my dad and boys on their 40th anniversary celebration cruise to Alaska several years ago.
But I digress. This is about food. Our plates were always colorful when I was growing up. Though I am not a nutritionist, my mom’s explanation – when I asked why it’s always good to eat a rainbow – makes a lot of sense to me. She explained that different colors in food indicate different nutrients. For example…
Many RED fruits and veggies are loaded with lycopene and anthocyanins that may combat heart disease and decrease the risk and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people aged 60 and older.
The best-known nutrient in ORANGE foods is beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that is good for eye health and can also help protect your skin from sun damage. YELLOW fruits and vegetables also teem with carotenoids and have an abundance of vitamin C.
Thinking green should be a way of eating as well as a way of living. GREEN leafy vegetables are a rich source of minerals – iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium – and vitamins – K, C, E, and many of the B. Go green!
BLUE, INDIGO, and VIOLET fruits and vegetables are extremely high in antioxidants. The nutrients in these foods seem to protect your blood vessels, cartilage, tendons and ligaments from damage. The vitamins and minerals in these foods can also help with memory function and urinary tract health.
That makes perfect sense. So, I am embracing this challenge from Melissa's Produce to focus on 7 colors for 7 days. This weekend I'll kick off with all things red. Stay tuned!