Did you know that adding color to your plate may add years to your life?
The natural pigments that make fruits and vegetables so colorful can also help protect your body from common diseases and illnesses as you age. Think color! The bright red of ripe tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, and cranberries; the brilliant orange of carrots; the vibrant green of kiwifruit and kale; and the dramatic purple of Concord grapes.
Scientists in labs across the country have made astounding discoveries about the health benefits of highly pigmented fruits and vegetables, which contain disease-fighting compounds called phytonutrients. These powerhouses act as a rogue police force, fighting off free radicals that cause cancer and a host of other enemies that increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and more. Here's just a sampling of the health benefits of eating colorful fruits and vegetables.
*The red in tomatoes helps reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and other types of cancers.
*The yellow in corn protects against macular degeneration, the number-one cause of blindness in the elderly.
*The orange in carrots and sweet potatoes helps prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol and helps reduce the risk of stroke.
*The green in dark, leafy greens helps prevent cancer.
*The blue in blueberries helps protect memory and motor function as you age, and helps fight cancer and heart disease.
*The purple in Concord grapes and grape juice helps prevent heart disease.
So when you're filling your shopping cart or your plate, think the more color, the better!
Adapted from 5 A Day: The Better Health Cookbook, by Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka and Barbara Berry.