The next time you are in the produce section of the grocery store, focus on the many colors of health that are ready for you to pluck from the bins and add to your basket. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of phytochemicals (plant sources of nutrition), which have been found to be powerful tools for preventing heart disease and cancer. Different colored fruits and vegetables contain different phytochemicals. Red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit contain lycopene which is thought to help prevent prostate cancer in men. The deep purples and blues of blueberries, plums and eggplant have anti-aging properties. And the vivid orange of carrots, cantaloupe and sweet potatoes help to maintain healthy vision. This year’s National Nutrition Month message, “Eat Right with Color,” reminds us to use nature’s valuable resources to prevent disease. So as you’re leaving the produce section, look into your cart. Are you seeing the reds, oranges, purples, whites and yellows of good health?
Written by Cathy Feldmeier, RD, LD