Fruits and vegetables are an important part of our everyday lives, since they provide us with the most essential nutrients. People who include them in their diet are less likely to be susceptible to chronic diseases, such as heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. Moreover, nature has found a smart way to highlight the nutrients in them, by imparting them with different colors.
What are the health benefits of different fruits and vegetables colors?
Red fruits and vegetables
They are colored by natural plant pigments called “lycopene” or “anthocyanins”. Lycopene has been linked with a lower risk for prostate cancer. It is also better absorbed when consumed with cooked foods (e.g. tomato sauce) rather than raw (raw tomatoes). Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage.
Examples of red fruits and vegetables are: Red apples, red peppers, beets, pomegranates, red cabbage, cherries, radishes, cranberries, raspberries, red grapes, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon.
Orange/Yellow fruits and vegetables
Orange fruits and vegetables are colored by natural plant pigments called “carotenoids”. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, which contributes to our eyes’ health. Carotenoids have also been linked with a lower risk for cancer and heart disease and a better function of the immune system. Citrus fruits (e.g. oranges), on the other hand, are excellent sources of vitamin C and folate.
Examples of orange/yellow fruits and vegetables are: Yellow apples, peaches, apricots, pears, yellow peppers, carrots, pineapple, grapefruit, pumpkin, lemons, oranges, tangerines.
Green fruits and vegetables
These are colored by natural plant pigment called “chlorophyll”. They include dark leafy greens, which are also excellent sources of folate and good sources of calcium, that contributes to the strengthening of bones.
Examples of green fruits and vegetables are: Green apples, melon, artichokes, kiwi, asparagus, lettuce, green beans, green onions, broccoli, peas, green pepper, green cabbage, spinach, cucumbers, green grapes.
Blue/Purple fruits and vegetables
These are colored by natural plant pigments called “anthocyanins”. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. They have also been linked with an improved memory function and healthy aging.
Examples of blue/purple fruits and vegetables are: blackberries, purple grapes, blueberries, raisins, figs, plums, prunes.
White fruits and vegetables
These are colored by natural plant pigments called “anthoxanthins”. Anthoxanthins can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may help reduce risk of heart disease.
Examples of white fruits and vegetables are: Bananas, onions, cauliflower, garlic, potatoes, ginger, turnips, mushrooms.
Taking into consideration all the aforementioned health benefits, we understand the importance of adding fruits and vegetables to our every meal. Although we should take advantage the fruits and vegetables that are in season, we mustn’t overlook the frozen ones that are sometimes a cheaper and more convenient solution. So load up!