Happy Herbivore Blog

January 12, 2012

Variety is the Spice of Life!

They say variety is the spice of life, but it is also the source of life. Well, more like the source of nutrients. 

We all need nutrients to survive and help us stay healthy, and an easy way to make sure we get a lot is to eat as many colors of fruits and vegetables as possible. The colors are important, because they each have different nutrients, and the more nutrients we get the better.

There are five "colors" of fruits and vegetables; green, red, yellow/orange, white, and blue/purple.

The green fruits and vegetables give us calcium, lutein and zeaxanthin, to name a few nutrients. These help boots our immune system and vision, while lowering blood pressure and risk of cancer. 

The red color group contains lycopene, among others, that help fight heart disease and lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

Beta-carotene and vitamin C are in the yellow/orange color group of fruits and vegetables. This helps to boost our immune system, vision and lower the bad LDL cholesterol.

White fruits and vegetables, like mushrooms and garlic, contain nutrients like lignan and allicin, which can lower risk of colon and other cancers. They also are anti-inflammatory and can lower risk of infection.

The blue/purple group has resveratrol, fiber, and many antioxidents. These nutrients help with calcium absorption, vision, and can reduce tumor growth.

Each color group has more nutrients than listed above, and several overlap. Each group has many different fruits and vegetables, and each have different nutrients. 

Besides eating colors, eat a variety of each color. Not all green fruits and vegetables have the same nutrients, and in order to get the most nutrients there needs to be a variety on our plates.

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