A while ago, I took a quiz of sorts to see how many varieties and colors of fruits and veggies we’d eaten in the last 20 days. Overall, we scored pretty well, but with a heavy leaning towards all things green! It would seem I’ve gotten carried away with my concentration in the green veggies department!
While getting our greens is really important, I’ve found myself thinking of vegetables differently now. It’s easy to forget that fruits and vegetables come in all sorts of colors and varieties, (I have a tendency to think of veggies as anything green). Now that I’ve done some research in the nutrition department, I’m combining as many different varieties and colors of veggies into each meal as possible!
Each color group has it’s own set of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants, which is why it’s important not to stick with the same few fruits and vegetables. Taking it one step further, variety within each color group is important as well. For example in the orange group, sweet potatoes and citrus have a whole different palate of goodies in store for you!
Below is a great list of fruits and veggies broken down by color:
Reds: Contain numerous antioxidents which help prevent cancer and are anti-inflammatory.
Beets, Cherries, Chili Peppers, Cranberries, Pomegranate, Radish, Raspberries, Red Apple, Rhubarb, Red Bell Peppers, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelon
Oranges: Vitamin C which promotes overall immunity, beta carotene which protects against free radical damage, and promotes the repair of DNA.
Apricots, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Kumquats, Mangos, Minola, Nectarines, Oranges, Peaches, Persimmons, Pumpkin, Satsuma, Sweet Potatoes, Tangerines
Yellows: The yellows also contain Vitamin C and beta carotenes like the oranges, with bioflavonoids as well.
Corn, Canary Melons, Crenshaw Melons, Lemons, Passionfruit, Pears, Pineapple, Plantains, Quince, Starfruit, White Grapefruit, Yellow Apples, Yellow Onions, Yellow Squash
Greens: Contains the powerful antioxident called lutein which is said to help prevent age related diseases such as cataracts, and helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Dark leafy greens contain numerous cancer-blocking chemicals.
Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus, Avocados, Basil, Bell Pepper, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Celery, Chard, Chayote Squash, Cilantro, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Edamame, Endive, Escarole, Fennel, Green Apples, Green Beans, Green Cabbage, Green Grapes, Green Olives, Green Onions, Green Pears, Green Peppers, Honeydew, Jalapeno, Kale, Kiwifruit, Leafy Greens, Leeks, Lettuce, Limes, Mache, Okra, Parsley, Peas, Poblano Peppers, Snap Peas, Snow Peas, Spinach, Sprouts, Sugar Snap Peas, Tomatillo, Watercress, Zucchini, other leafy greens and assorted green herbs
Blues/Purples: Contains a rich supply of flavonoids which have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. The antioxidents in this category are believed to delay cellular aging, (that must be why we need to eat our berries).
Blueberries, Acai, Boysenberries, Eggplants, Figs, Purple Grapes, Purple Plums, Radicchio, Shallots, Turnips
Whites: The Whites are best known for their immune boosting properties, and they help to balance hormones.
Asian Pear, Bananas, Cauliflower, Coconut, Garlic, Ginger, Jicama, Lychee, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, White Asparagus, White Corn, White Peaches
The nutrient breakdown by color group is a very simple look at each group. Each fruit and vegetable contains it’s own unique blend of goodness, so it would be difficult to describe each individual. However, I hope a brief glance into each group inspires you to eat more variety!
Here’s a little inspiration for color loaded recipes:
What’s your secret to adding more fruits and veggies to your diet?
I think you can guess my secret is green smoothies – I’m pretty transparent that way!