It can be hard to maintain a healthy diet. Counting calories, deciphering ingredients – it can all get overwhelming. Well, forget that. We want to share one of the most basic ways to determine a healthy meal – just use your eyes.
See, the natural pigments that give foods like fruits and vegetables their color also have beneficial nutritional properties. By including foods in a variety of colors, you can add nutrition and vitality to any meal. We want you to literally eat a rainbow every day!
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Side note: We’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day so eating a nutritional rainbow and posting a picture to our Facebook or Twitter page by March 22 may very well lead you to a pot of gold – a 3 day guest pass. See below for details.
So why is it important to eat a rainbow and not just your favorite fruit or veggie? Well, a study in the medical journal, Nutrition states that the variety of vitamins and antioxidants absorbed from a range of sources can, even in small amounts, provide greater health benefits than consuming only a few types of vegetables in large quantities. Here are some good places to start:
Red. Colored by lycopene, red foods like cherries, beets, grapefruit, watermelon and even red potatoes and wine help reduce risk of several types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Orange. Colored by carotenoids, foods like mangos, persimmons, apricots, yellow apples and sweet corn are vital to healthy eye sight and may reduce the risk of heart related diseases.
Green foods are colored by chlorophyll and lutein. Honeydew melon, onions, limes, kiwi and avocado can all help protect against cancer, fight cataracts and reduce the risk of birth defects due to the high amounts of folate often found in green veggies.
Blue foods like plums, eggplant, juneberries and raisins are colored by the pigment anthocyanin which is a powerful antioxidant helping to protect cells against damage and improve memory all while fighting against strokes and many forms of cancer.
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So, now that you know the benefits – why not show us what ya’ got? We want to see pictures of your favorite, colorful meals. Post pictures and recipes on Facebook and Twitter, join the conversation by liking us and participate to win prizes. This time we’re giving out a free 3-day guest pass good for the entire month of April. The contest ends March 22, 2011 so be sure to get your picture entries in by then!