Tantalizingly tart raspberries. Succulent corn on the cob. Sweet, juicy peaches. There’s probably at least one luscious summer fruit or vegetable that you just can’t get enough of.
But don’t let your particular passion get in the way eating a well-rounded diet of produce. The greater the variety of fruits and vegetables you eat, the more health advantages you’ll reap, say nutrition experts.
The easiest way to add variety? Shop by the rainbow. Fill your cart with fruits and vegetables in reds, blue/purples, deep greens, oranges and yellows to optimize the nutrients in your diet.
Fruits and vegetables contain plant substances that may improve your health, and each fruit or vegetable contains a unique mix of plant substances that you can identify by color. The important thing is to make sure we get every single nutrient that’s available.
Red indicates the presence of lycopene, an antioxidant that may protect your body’s cells from damage.
Unlike many nutrients, lycopene is best absorbed when cooked in a little fat: “Cook tomatoes on the grill or roast in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil.”
Orange-yellow fruits and vegetables, including cantaloupe, yellow squash, apricots and carrots, are high in vitamin A or carotenoids, which form the vitamin.
Cook vegetables in the orange-yellow family by steaming or microwaving in a small amount of water for the shortest time possible. Try grilling sliced yellow squash with a little oil and herbs.
You may know that blueberries are a “superfood” with plenty of antioxidant potential. But perhaps you didn’t give credit to the skin, which is rich in anthocyanins. This substance also brings its distinctive color to red (actually purple) cabbage and eggplant.
Eggplant, like yellow squash, is delicious when grilled. Cabbage and blueberries, on the other hand, need no cooking to enhance their flavor or nutritional value.
When selecting salad ingredients, skip the pale greens and go for darker colors. The deeper, darker the color of the vegetable, the better it is for you.
Try skipping iceberg lettuce and opting for romaine. Spinach, which is high in folic acid, is an important vegetable for women. Don’t avoid cooking greens, including kale and Brussels sprouts, which can be steamed on top of the stove or in a microwave oven. These cruciferous vegetables may reduce your risk of cancer.