Weatherford Democrat

June 21, 2014

EXTENSION NEWS: Eating the rainbow with fruits and vegetables


Weatherford Democrat

WEATHERFORD —

There are many things we can do that lead to a healthier lifestyle. One important component is meeting our body’s nutrient needs by eating the right foods in the right amounts, which includes our intake of fruits and vegetables. Eating fruits and vegetables benefits our body by providing nutrients that maintain healthy and may reduce the risk of developing a chronic disease.

Fruits and vegetables provide:

• Fiber, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

• Potassium, which helps promote healthy blood pressure and plays an important role in muscle contraction.

• Foliate, which helps in the formation of red blood cells and is especially important during pregnancy. Foliate also plays an important role in cell growth and can also prevent anemia.

• Vitamins A, C, and E which helps in the growth and repair of body tissues and helps maintain healthy eyes and skin.

The appropriate amount of fruit and vegetable intake depends on a person’s age, sex and physical activity. You can find out how much you need at ChooseMyPlate.gov. By filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and making them the focal point of your meals, you can help yourself eat your daily recommendation.

Another way to be sure that you are getting all of the different nutrients available in the different fruits and vegetables you eat is to vary your selections. One great visual way to do this is to try to pick different fruits and vegetables from different colors, and eating the rainbow. 

Blue and Purple fruits and vegetables contains anthocyanin and phenols. These may help promote memory function, lower risk of some cancer, urinary tract health and promote healthy aging. These can include blueberries, blackberries, grapes, purple cabbage, eggplant, purple peppers and potatoes, and black beans.

Green fruits and vegetables contain lutein. They may help promote vision health, lower the risk of some cancers and help maintain strong bones and teeth. Enjoy avocados, green apples, limes, broccoli, green beans, green peas, okra and kale.

Red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene and anthocyanin. They may promote urinary tract health, memory function, lower risk of some cancers, and heart health. Enjoy blood oranges, cranberries, apples, watermelon, beets, red potatoes, tomatoes, and red kidney beans.

White and tan fruits and vegetables contain allicin and quercetin. These may promote heart health, healthy cholesterol levels and lower risk of some cancers. Enjoy bananas, dates, white peaches, jicama, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, navy beans and soy beans.

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain beta carotene and limonoids. These may help promote vision health, heart health, immune system resistance and lower risk of some cancers. Enjoy apricots, mangos, papayas, tangerines, carrots, pumpkin, squash, and corn.