Summertime! It’s the best time of year to try out new foods. Days are brilliant and bright, with the smell of fresh blossoms in the air. With the longer days and a more active lifestyle, you might be craving some quick energy. Instead of pulling open another bag of chips or slurping on a second ice cream cone, why not fuel-up with some local produce, giving your body the nutritional return it needs and the healthy glow we all desire.
Did you ever really think about why fruits and vegetables come in a variety of colors? Well, there are actually specific health benefits linked to each one of the beautiful colors. We can place fruits and vegetables into five specific color categories, blue/purple, red, white, yellow/orange, and green. Let’s check-out some of the health benefits of each group…
Some blue/purple produce options are plums, blueberries and eggplant, with health benefits of improving your immune system and digestion, lowering inflammation, and lowering LDL cholesterol.
White produce? You’ve probably been told to stay away from white foods because of their lack of nutritional value. Well, not so for fruits and vegetables. White produce is often referred to as nature’s antibiotics. The consumption of garlic, onions and leeks can help you ward off colds and flus, lower cholesterol and help regulate your blood pressure.
Probably one of the most deliciously sweet groups of produce to consume is red. Strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, watermelon and apples lead the pack for taste. The impressive nutrient content of this tasty group will have you forego the fruit snack from the supermarket aisles and head straight to the farmers market. Studies show that red produce lowers risk of certain cancers, lowers blood pressure and is beneficial for heart health.
What is the least consumed color of produce in the US? You guessed it – green. Yet, green produce packs a bountiful amount of health benefits including boosting your immune system, lowering free radical damage and improving your energy. So go ahead and have that extra serving of broccoli and kale!
Can’t think clearly? Have a sweet potato. Produce from the orange/yellow such as carrots, cantaloupe, lemons, and pineapple have been shown to increase brain function, decrease muscle cramps, increase the efficiency of your immune system and particularly the lutein found in yellow produce, helps protect against macular degeneration and promotes eye health.
So this summer, stop by your local farmers market and color your plate healthy!
Watch our video to learn more about our clinical philosophy, ProEx for Life (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btNIepz5j-s)
Sources: Institute for Integrative Nutrition, www.pbhfoundation.org