Eat the Colors of the Rainbow
Those autumn colors of fall are gorgeous, transforming our green landscape into brilliant blazes of yellow, red, and orange. We yearn to go leaf peeping and apple picking! Take another step and go into your grocery store or farmers market and start buying veggies and fruits in the colors of the rainbow that include not only our autumn colors, but blue, purple, white, and green for enhanced nutrition and beneficial health.
With so much focus on eating a more plant-based diet these days, it is hard to believe that Time Magazine reports that Americans are eating fewer vegetables than a decade ago! Half of us don’t even eat a cup and a half of veggies a day, and 87% of us do not reach the minimum goal of 2 to 3 cups a days.(1) Whoa! That is sobering news for a clinical nutritionist and foodie like me who makes vegetables the cornerstone of her non-vegetarian diet.
One powerful way to enhance your health and nutrition is to color your diet with the colors of the rainbow. Think of these colors as your “pigment power” as these various phytonutrients that make up the pigments are the closest natural substances we have to a fountain of youth. They have the power to help prevent, or even reverse, many chronic disorders and even reduce our cancer risk. Who doesn’t want better long term health or lower risk of cancer, or more immediately, glowing skin, better weight management, improved gut health and regularity, immune function, athletic performance, energy levels and mental well-being? Count me in and serve up the colors of the rainbow!
So, how do you boost your servings of veggies each day? 10 servings a day are ideal but don’t feel daunted by that number. A half cup of vegetables such as broccoli, cucumber, peppers or squash make up a serving. So does half an avocado or a cup of leafy greens. Think of filling at least half of your plate with vegetables. Some easy ways to get more veggies into your diet include making a veggie omelet or adding spinach or cucumber to your smoothie for breakfast, eating a salad made of leafy greens and root vegetables such as carrots, radishes, beets, or sweet potato and then adding some salmon, chicken, quinoa or beans for protein. For dinner, why not opt for easy roasting or grilling of veggies for dinner or making a stir-fry? Stews and soups can be packed full of many veggies the colors of the rainbow for multiple meals. And don’t forget those white veggies such as onions, garlic, and leeks that have anti-tumor protection. Have you ever tried cauliflower pizza? It is an amazing meal that you can customize with your favorite toppings and lucky for those of us short on time, you can buy frozen cauliflower pizza crusts at Trader Joe’s.