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Eat the Rainbow: The Health Benefits of a Colorful Diet

Eat the Rainbow: The Health Benefits of a Colorful Diet

Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Because of their high nutritional value, it’s recommended you eat fruits and vegetables every day.

If you have a few favorites you enjoy on a regular basis, that’s a great start. But it’s not just the quantity that counts. It’s also important to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure your body gets all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to maintain proper health.

This is why we advocate that when it comes to fruits and vegetables, you ‘eat the rainbow.’

The Science Behind Eating the Rainbow

Fruits and vegetables get their bright colors from phytonutrients. These natural chemicals help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats.

These same phytonutrients are also beneficial to humans. They may enhance immunity, can protect our bodies from chronic diseases, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and also reduce health risk factors.

The Rainbow Connection to Good Health

Woman holding various veggies

Different colored fruits and vegetables contain different phytonutrients. Let’s take a look at the nutrients found in each color and their benefits:

Red

Top down view of red-colored foods.

Phytonutrients:

Lycopene

Vegetables: red onions, beets, red cabbage, radish

Fruits: apples, raspberries, tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, red peppers, cherries, pomegranate

Orange and Yellow

Top down view of various yellow/orange-colored foods, like corn, mango, oranges

Phytonutrients:

Carotenoids (beta carotene, beta cryptothanxin)

Vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, corn

Fruits: cantaloupe, mango, oranges, papaya, peaches, pineapple, pumpkin, yellow peppers

Green

Top-down view of various green-colored foods

Phytonutrients:

Chlorophyll, carotenoids, lutein, glucosinolates, sulforaphane, isocyanate, and indoles

Vegetables: kale, spinach, artichoke, broccoli, green beans, collard greens, cabbage, lettuce, asparagus, peas, Brussels sprouts

Fruits: honeydew, apples, pears, grapes, lime, kiwifruit

Purple and Blue

Woman will variety of blue-colored foods

Phytonutrients:

Anthocyanins

Vegetables: cabbage, eggplant, cauliflower

Fruits: blueberries, blackberries, grapes, plums

White and Brown

Photo of cauiflower

Phytonutrients:

Anthoxanthins, allicin, flavonoids, quercetin

Vegetables: cauliflower, garlic, leeks, onions, mushrooms, potatoes, chickpeas

Fruits: bananas, dates, coconuts

Tips to Create a Colorful Plate for Every Meal

Baking tray of various colored-vegetables.

It may seem like a daunting task to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables into your diet. But with proper planning and the right mindset, you can eat the rainbow every day.

Each meal counts: You don’t have to get an entire day’s worth of fruits and veggies in one sitting. Try to get two servings of each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make it more manageable.

Be a mindful shopper: When you grocery shop, look at your cart before you check out. If you see a variety of colors in your cart, you’re good to go. If you only see one or two shades, it’s easy to head back to the produce section and add a few colors you don’t have.

Be a colorful diner: The next time you eat out, read the menu carefully. Swap out fries for a side salad or add a bowl of fruit to your breakfast. If there aren’t healthy apps on the menu, ask for a veggie on the side.

Go Fresh or Frozen: Fruits and veggies are just as nutritious whether you buy fresh or frozen. So, if you’re worried they won’t keep or want to plan ahead, you can store them in your freezer or buy them frozen. You can also meal plan better when you buy canned fruits and veggies.

Buy local: Farmers markets or local farms can be a great source of fresh, local produce. This is also a great way to ensure you’re eating food that is in season.

How GOLO Can Help You Eat the Rainbow

GOLO has plenty of recipe options that include colorful fruits and vegetables. You can search by category, including salads, vegetables, soups, and vegetarian. You can also search individual fruits or vegetables if you have one or two that you’d like to include in a dish.

Your GOLO for Life Plan emphasizes getting back to basics with food. That means balanced meals of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and of course, plenty of fruits and vegetables. By following your Smart Card and creating a variety of different meals, you should be on track to eat the rainbow.

When you plan ahead and do your best to include one or two colors with each meal, you’ll find that better health may be the pot of gold at the end of your colorful food rainbow.

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html

https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/phytonutrients-faq

https://www.livescience.com/52541-phytonutrients.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/phytonutrients-paint-your-plate-with-the-colors-of-the-rainbow-2019042516501

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-lycopene

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12134711/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073812/

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