Are You Colorful Enough?
When it comes to getting the best nutrients, most of America is falling short. And, unfortunately “falling short” means higher obesity rates, risks to heart health and a climbing Type 2 Diabetes rate. But, instead of complex diets and expensive vitamins, what if eating better is as simple as, doing what Mom always said?
According to a 2009 report based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 8 out of 10 people in the US fall short of the recommended intake of virtually every category of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are simply vitamins and nutrients we derive from plants (phyto = plant). Nutritionists have created categories of phytonutrients based on the color of the fruits and vegetables, as produce of similar color generally contain the same nutrients.
The 2009 report found that…
- 69% of Americans are falling short in green phytonutrients
- 78% of Americans are falling short in red phytonutrients
- 88% of Americans are falling short in purple and blue phytonutrients
- 79% of Americans are falling short in yellow and orange phytonutrients
These numbers might be discouraging, but you can make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need by following the same advice your mom used to give you as a child – eat the rainbow!
Eat The Rainbow!
Eating a variety of colorful foods is an easy way to get the complete range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. Rather than trying to choose vegetables by calories and complex nutrient numbers, consider the following colors the next time you go grocery shopping.
Compounds like flavonoids (including anthocyanins) and carotenoids (including lycopene) give red-colored produce its brilliant hue. These compounds are both types of antioxidants, which are substances that may play a role in preventing a variety of diseases such as certain types of cancer or blood vessel damage. Additionally, anthocyanins may help with heart health and graceful aging.
- Red peppers
- Red onions
Orange fruits and veggies provide healthy doses of beta-carotene (a powerful antioxidant), plus vitamin A and vitamin C. These nutrients support a host of body functions such as eyesight, immune function, and glowing skin.
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.)
- Orange peppers
- Golden beets
Yellow produce is bursting with carotenoid zeaxanthin (an antioxidant), which has been key in eye health research. Beta-cryptoxanthin is another antioxidant found in yellow fruits and vegetables. It can be converted to vitamin A, which promotes healthy skin and immunity. Plus Vitamin C, found in citrus and yellow bell peppers, can also help with healthy skin and immunity.
- Yellow bell peppers
- Yellow grapefruit
- Yellow summer squash
Green produce gets its beautiful shade from flavonols, beta-carotene, and lutein. These compounds support different body systems. For example, a growing body of evidence suggests flavonoids support brain and heart health while lutein supports eye health.
- Collard greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard
- Green beans
- Kiwi fruit
Anthocyanins are responsible for those vivid blue and black colors in produce. Studies suggest this group of antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress to support healthy aging. Plus they may eliminate cardiovascular disease biomarkers.
- Red (purple) grapes
- Red (purple) cabbage
Warning: Vegetables And Medication
Some fruits and vegetables, while rich in important nutrients, also contain compounds that could potentially interact with certain medications. Keep these in mind when planning your next colorful meal. Always talk to your doctor about any concerns regarding your medication.
Green leafy vegetables that are high in vitamin K can affect blood-thinning medicines, such as warfarin (Coumadin®). This could result in blood clotting instead of thinning. This doesn’t mean you need to cut these vegetables out of your diet, just do not suddenly increase your intake. It’s better to maintain a consistent amount – stick to what your body knows.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can affect a number of medications including atorvastatin (Lipitor®), simvastatin (Zocor®, Vytorin®), or lovastatin (Mevacor®) to treat high cholesterol, and warfarin. To avoid side effects, do not consume grapefruit while these medications are in still in your system.
A Healthy Lifestyle Is Easy At Holbrook Communities
From farm to table whole foods, amazing spa and fitness services, water filtration and UV lighting, every resident is sure to enjoy living the best life possible.
The Holbrook family of communities is like no other, offering designer residences that inspire community growth and the joy of living. Want to learn more about Holbrook? Contact us now or call (404) 445-7777.