Nutrition by Color (Slideshow)
Fruits and vegetables grow in a variety of colors for a reason: it helps you figure out what kinds of nutritional value they contain. And when it comes to fresh produce, variety is key — eat a rainbow of food each and every day! Click through to check out the unique properties in colorful fruits and veggies.
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What: Tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers, pomegranates, cranberries, raspberries.
The pigment that gives most red fruits and veggies their signature hue is called lycopene – an antioxidant that may reduce the risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
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2. Orange & Yellow
What: Carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, mango, oranges, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, papaya, bananas, corn, summer squash, lemon, grapefruit.
You can thank beta-carotene for that vibrant orange hue found in carrots, sweet potatoes and the like. The body converts beta-carotine into vitamin A, which helps your eyes, your bones and your immune system stay in tip-top shape. Citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons, are full of vitamin C, of course, but they’re also rich in bioflavonoids, and the two work together to help your bones, skin and teeth, and reduce your risks of cancer and heart disease.
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What: leafy vegetables, kiwi, lime, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, zucchini, artichoke, avocado.
The source of green’s vegetables color may sound familiar to anyone who ever took biology: chlorophyl. Though green is certainly the color with the most variety, most green vegetables are high in fiber, many vitamins, calcium, iron, and a whole slew of beneficial antioxidants. Not all greens are created equal, however: iceberg lettuce is not nearly as nutrient rich as, say, kale. As a general rule, the darker the green, the better. Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, also contain properties that have been shown to reduce cancer risk.
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4. Blue & Purple
What: Blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, grapes, plums, beets.
Blue, purple and deep red fruits and vegetables get their color from a pigment known as anthocyanin, and are rich in antioxidants that are beneficial for brain, your heart and your immune system.