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Shop Like a Bee: Look for Color in Your Foods

Mom used to tell you to eat your greens but don't ignore all the other colors of the rainbow.

Most people recognize the need of a healthy, well-balanced diet. It’s also important to recognize that each fruit and vegetable contains important properties, which are often identified by their color. The expression, "eat a rainbow of color" aptly states the need to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet.

Florescent Fruits

Orange and yellow are vibrant colors, and they appeal to the eyes and taste buds equally. Just one sweet, juicy orange is loaded with vitamin C and contains 52 mg of calcium. Additionally, an orange contains potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Nature has gifted us with many other orange and yellow fruits including the nectarine, peach, apricot, mango, cantaloupe and pineapple, and each of these florescent fruits is a vitamin and mineral gold mine. Eat these fruits raw to receive the full value of their essential nutrients.

Vibrant Vegetables

Bright orange and yellow vegetables add color to our food and give life to our immune system. Free radicals and their damaging effects don't stand a chance in the battle with these power-packed nutrients. Colorful vegetables also contain beta-carotene, lycopene, magnesium, potassium, flavonoids, calcium and vitamin C. Carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow and orange peppers, squash, pumpkin and sweet corn are some of the delicious orange and yellow vegetables you should be regularly cycling in and out of your daily diet.

Nutrient Benefits of Orange and Yellow Foods

  1. Vitamin C - This vitamin plays a major role in good health. It enhances the immune system, contributes to a healthy cardiovascular system and is a deterrent for cancer and stroke. Every day scientists are discovering new ways vitamin C contributes to overall health. 
  2. Beta-carotene - The health-enhancing attributes of beta-carotene are many, including attacking free radicals, enhancing of the immune system function and contributing to a healthy reproductive system.
  3. Flavonoids - Acting as antioxidant “protectors” is the important work of flavonoids. In addition to being found in fruits and vegetables, flavonoids are also found in tea and wine, and combining vitamin C with flavonoids helps protect the body from food-borne illnesses.
  4. Lycopene – Much of the color in red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables comes from lycopene. It’s an important antioxidant, which may assist in preventing some types of cancer. A 1995 study at Harvard University suggests lycopene is linked to a decreased risk of prostate cancer. 
  5. Potassium – In addition to being an important mineral for heart function, potassium also contributes to kidney, nerve and digestive health. This mineral contributes greatly to overall health by keeping muscles strong, controlling blood pressure and regulating the bowels. 
  6. Calcium – Natural calcium is a critical mineral for bones and teeth, and it contributes greatly to the overall health of the body. Recent studies suggest calcium deficiencies are becoming more and more widespread, even among the most industrialized nations of the world, so getting enough calcium has never been as pressing as it is now.

The orange and yellow colors in fruits and vegetables add beauty to our food and vitality to our health. Including a colorful and sufficient amount in your diet will supply your body with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed for overall good health. So the next time you're at the grocery store take a stroll past the produce and take a note of all the colors in front of you.  Not all vegetables are green and there's no more reason to be looking at fruits and vegetables in terms of black and white.

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