There are so many eating styles you can choose to nourish your body and that’s awesome because one size doesn’t fit all in in most things! But there is one big upgrade most everyone can benefit from that can improve your health by lowering your risk of chronic disease, boosting your immune system, promoting healthy metabolism, eliminating toxins from your body, and even reducing your risk of many cancers. The big upgrade-sorry no it’s not to increase your intake of that “magically delicious” cereal with the rainbow marshmallow bits pictured above. It’s boosting your intake of phytonutrients by eating the rainbow every day.
What is a phytonutrient? Basically it is a chemical component of plants that gives each plant its distinct color, smell and taste and provides protection from pests and environmental stressors. We can recognize the wide spectrum of phytonutrients in the rainbow of colors we see in fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and teas. These phytonutrients come in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, and even tan and brown. Diversity in the colors you eat is important because each phytonutrient has distinct benefits to offer us in promoting health.
How can you get more of these phytonutrients into your diet and reap the benefits? Start by observing the colors you eat now-we often get stuck in a rut of eating the same types of foods and it has been estimated that 80% of people are missing out on regular intake of one or more color groups. For too many people, a diet high in processed food leaves their plates full of tan, brown, yellow and white, without any sign of the rainbow colors. A goal to shoot for every day is to try to consume 1 or 2 servings of each color group a day. The abundance of fresh, colorful produce in summer makes it the perfect time to experiment with adding in a wide variety of the powerful plant foods and perhaps even trying new and unfamiliar ones too. Yes, there is compelling evidence today to motivate you to act on that old but familiar phrase, “Eat Your Veggies!”