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Published on June 07, 2021

Eat the rainbow: How to embrace a colorful diet

Eat the rainbow: How to embrace a colorful diet

When you look down at your plate during mealtime, are your food choices colorful? The American Heart Association recommends filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables to reach the recommended 4.5 cups of each per day for an average adult consuming 2,000 calories.

One reason it's so important to select colorful items is that they tend to contain phytonutrients, which are nutritious chemicals that plants produce. Phytonutrients can be found in beans, grains, fruits, veggies and other plants.

Try these colorful food options to consume more phytonutrients and support your overall nutritional health.

Red foods

Red foods have the following phytonutrients: flavonoids, lycopene, vitamin C and folate. These types of phytonutrients support heart health and your memory while defending cells and protecting against blood clotting.

  • Beets
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Pomegranates
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Red apples
  • Red grapes
  • Red peppers
  • Red potatoes
  • Red onion
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Orange and yellow foods

Orange and yellow foods have the following phytonutrients: beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C. These types of phytonutrients support the health of your eyes, heart and immune function and provide antioxidants.

  • Acorn, butternut and summer squash
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Peppers
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tangerines
  • Yams

Green foods

Green foods have the following phytonutrients: chlorophyll, vitamin K, carotenoids, isothiocyanate and omega 3 fatty acids. These types of phytonutrients support healthy bones, teeth and eyes.

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Green cabbage
  • Green grapes
  • Green onion
  • Green peppers
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Leeks
  • Limes
  • Okra
  • Pears
  • Peas (snow peas/sugar snap peas)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini

Blue, purple and black foods

Blue, purple and black foods have the following phytonutrients: anthocyanins, polyphenols and resveratrol. These types of phytonutrients support memory, aging and heart health.

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Currants
  • Dates
  • Eggplants
  • Purple grapes
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Purple figs
  • Raisins
  • Black beans

White foods

White foods have the following phytonutrients: flavonoids. This type of phytonutrient supports healthy bones, teeth, eyes and cholesterol levels.

  • Bananas
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Shallots
  • Ginger
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