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Healthy Eating - Eating By Color

Updated on December 12, 2013

Colorful Healthy Foods

Nature provides an abundance of color and each color of food offers different vitamins and minerals, which the human body needs in order to function at its peak. Therefore, if you want to provide your family with well-balanced meals, you should select foods of varying colors.

Color also affects our appetite. Presenting a colorful plate often increases a personâs desire to eat. What a great simple way to influence your family into eating healthier foods.

Eating healthy means eating the rainbow!

The Color Wheel of Vegetables and Fruits

We have all heard that in order to enjoy good health, we have to eat the proper foods. According to various food guides, an adult should consume at least six to seven servings of vegetables and fruit per day. A serving is defined as a piece of fruit, ½ a cup of frozen, fresh or raw vegetables. One cup of leafy greens i.e. salad or a ½-cup of juice. This is all information, which is familiar to many of us. However, how do you know which veggies and fruits to choose?

The color of a fruit or vegetable is a good indication of what kind of nutrients can be gained by eating it. This lens offers a basic guide, not all of the foods will have all of the vitamins and nutrients listed. Additionally, each item will have different levels of nutrients.


Blue and Purple

These fruits and vegetables are often good sources of:

Vitamin C, fiber, ellagic acid and flavonoids

Eating these food will help:

Lower LDL cholesterol, maintain good eye health, improve the digestion of minerals and calcium, and boost the immune system

Foods included in this group are;

  • Eggplants

  • Fig

  • Shallots

  • Blueberries

  • Plums

  • Boysenberries

Selecting Blue and Purple Foods



These fruits and vegetables are often good sources of:

Vitamin E, anthocyanin, Vitamin B1, Folate

Eating these food will help:

Lower blood pressure, contain antitoxins, aid the body in fight disease including heart and some cancers

Foods included in this group are:

  • Blackberries

  • Black grapes

  • Truffles

  • Black olives

  • Mushrooms

  • Dates

  • Black Rice


Orange and Yellow

These fruits and vegetables are often good sources of:

Vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium and flavonoids

Eating these food will help:

Lower the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and help build bones

Recent studies have shown that eating blueberries may prevent some aging effects, including that of memory loss.

Foods included in this group are:

  • Corn

  • Lemons

  • Pears

  • Carrots

  • Peach

  • Apricot

  • Pumpkin

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Yellow squash

  • Pineapple

  • Starfruit

Selecting Yellow and Orange Foods



These fruits and vegetables are often good sources of:

Phytochemicals, EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), lignans, SDG (Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) and beta-glucan.

Eating these food will help:

These foods can reduce the chance of getting certain kinds of cancers including; colon, prostate, breast and cervical. They can assist in balancing a person's hormone levels and boost their immune system.

Foods included in this group are:

  • Garlic

  • Leeks

  • Bananas

  • Ginger

  • Parsnips

  • Mushrooms

  • White corn

  • Turnips

  • White peaches

Selecting White Foods


These fruits and vegetables are often good sources of:

Lycopene, anthyocyanins, hesperidin

Eating these food will help:

Lower blood pressure, protect a person against macular degeneration and cataracs, prevent some kinds of cancers and guard the body against stroke and heart attacks

Foods included in this group are:

  • Tomatoes

  • Cranberries

  • Raspberries

  • Red Bell Pepper

  • Radish

  • Red Apple

  • Raspberries

  • Strawberries



These fruits and vegetables are often good sources of:

Fiber, calcium, beta-carotene, indoles, isothiocyanates, lutein, folate and Vitamin C

Eating these food will help:

Reduces the risk of certain types of cancers, lowers LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, slows or reduces the growth of some tumors, prevents the chance of getting cataracts, and other age related eye problems.

Foods included in this group are:

  • Broccoli

  • Celery

  • Limes

  • Kiwi Fruit

  • Peas

  • Lettuce

  • Asparagus

  • Brussel Sprouts


Healthy Foods and Herbs

Sadly, many people seem to believe that a healthy diet is a boring one. When people talk about low calorie meals, they almost instantly think of salad. However, this is a real misconception. It is possible to spice up your food, without adding a lot of calories.

One spice that is common in North America is garlic. This particular food/spice can add flavor to a wide variety of foods. You can put a new spin on mashed potatoes by adding garlic and Parmesan cheese, and roasted cauliflower can get a boost simply by cooking it with garlic cloves and rosemary.

What really makes a garlic dish great are the added health benefits it offers. Studies have shown eating garlic can lower a person's LDL cholesterol level. There is also evidence that it can slightly reduce a person's blood pressure.

Part of the mint family, rosemary is another great herb. When served with foods it can be used either fresh or dried and it makes a great additive on many different kinds of vegetables. A simple way to prepare rosemary with vegetables is to place a variety of vegetables into an oven safe pan and sprinkle them with a bit of rosemary and olive oil.

Rosemary also has medicinal properties and is a natural restorative that improves circulation and digestion, and is known to stimulate both the gall bladder and the liver.

Turmeric is an herb that is commonly used in Indian foods and this slightly spicy additive is frequently used in many curry dishes. However, it can also be added to various other foods to create different flavors. Turmeric can be blended with rice. To make a simple healthy dish you can add turmeric, thyme, garlic and chicken broth to whole grain rice.

As with many herbs, turmeric has a number of additional health benefits and it has been used for many years in India to treat liver and stomach problems. In North America, it is being studied very closely. Research is being done on the herb and its ability to aid those who are suffering from diabetes, allergies, various types of cancer and Alzheimer's.

These are only three of the many spices, which you can easily purchase at any grocery store. Herbs will add flavor to almost any dish without adding many calories.


Beta-glucan can aid the immune system.

Epigallocatechin gallate is an antioxidant. Research is being done in regards to EGCG and AIDS. It is also beneficial in treating cervical, brain and prostate cancers.

Flavanoids are compounds, which have antioxidants. These antioxidants can guard the brain from dementia and help prevent some cancers, reduce allergies and help guard against diabetes and heart disease.

Hesperidin is a type of flavanoid.

Indoles and isothiocyanates compounds boost the production of certain enzymes which aid the body in clearing out toxins.

lycopene and anthocyanins are phytochemicals. These important substances aid your body in fighting disease.

Lycopene has been found to reduce the risk of developing various types of cancer.

Lignans are phytoestrogens. These are antitoxins.

SDG is a phytochemical, which is a type of antioxidant. Studies in animals have shown that it can prevent diabetes and atherosclerosis.


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