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Eat the Rainbow for Better Nutrition

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Eat the Rainbow for Better Nutrition

This guest blog post is by Fera Kristine Butts, RN, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, and AHA volunteer.

Do you want to boost energy, decrease illness, improve your heart and brain health and help eliminate toxins from your body? Start by eating the rainbow — not a sugar-packed rainbow of candy but the rainbow of amazing fruits and vegetables.

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Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables helps your body get important phytonutrients. Phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables can be powerful defenders of our health because of their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables means choosing healthy options in all the color ranges: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white/brown. Fruits and vegetables of different colors offer a variety of nutrients that can help improve health in different parts of the body. For example, orange vegetables, like carrots, provide beta-carotene, which helps the body produce healthier skin and improved vision. Blue fruits provide polyphenols, which help the brain with memory, learning and mood. Green fruits and vegetables are full of healthy nutrients, especially leafy green veggies like spinach and kale.

When you eat a variety of colorful options from different categories of fruits and vegetables, your body gets a wider variety of nutrients, which can work in combination to boost the benefits of each other. Eating a variety of colors may also help keep you and your family from getting bored eating the same fruits and vegetables day after day.

American Heart Association recommendation

The AHA recommends eating 4 to 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. If you struggle to get even 1 or 2 servings in a day, this can seem like a daunting task! The trick is to start slow and add them in with each meal and snack.

A breakfast smoothie of frozen fruit, a dash of juice, baby spinach, water and ice is a tasty way to start the day. Spinach gives you a boost of greens and won’t change the sweet flavor of the smoothie. At lunch, add some cut-up strawberries or apples to a salad. The sweetness of the fruit will complement the greens and veggies.

The next time you’re in the grocery store, spend a little bit longer in the produce section. Look at all the different color options and see if there are some new things you might like to try. Think about how to add more color to your meals and snacks and keep track of how you’re doing. Today might be the day you add a new yellow vegetable to lunch or a new purple fruit to dinner. Before you know it, you’ll be eating the rainbow!

Learn more ways to add color with fruits and vegetables.

 

Fera-Kristine-Butts.jpg This guest blog post is by Fera Kristine Butts, RN, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, and AHA volunteer.

Read her full bio.