Taste the Rainbow
Creating a Colorful Plate of Food
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 14:10
No, the headline of this article does not mean that you should include a bag of Skittles at every meal; nor should you stock your cupboards with a year’s supply of Lucky Charms.
Keep the slogans and catchy jingles of these sugary treats in mind, however, when dishing up your plate of food in the dining center or planning and preparing a home-cooked meal.
NDSU’s Extension Service has provided students, faculty and staff with useful information on the benefits of eating a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.
On their website, they have made a PowerPoint presentation available, entitled “What Color is Your Food?” to help the NDSU community become more aware of the importance of maintaining a balanced diet.
Food and Nutrition Specialist Julie Garden-Robinson has outlined the color categories of fruits and vegetables and given examples of foods in each, as well as the nutritional benefits contained within the foods in each category.
Here is a brief summary of Garden-Robinson’s research:
Red foods contain lycopenes and antioxidants, which can help reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Red apples Red peppers
Pink grapefruit Rhubarb
Orange and yellow
Orange and yellow foods contain Vitamins A and C, which can improve your eyesight, boost your immune system and help reduce your risk of obtaining heart disease and cancer.
Pineapple Butternut squash
Lemons Sweet potatoes
Green foods contain lutein, which helps impede the onset of blindness and indoles, which fends off malignant breast cancer cells.
Green grapes Green beans
Kiwi Green peppers
Blue and purple
Blue and purple foods contain antioxidants called anthocyanins that protect your heart and your cells from damage, as well as improve your memory and encourage your body to age at a healthy pace.
Purple grapes Figs
White foods contain allicin, which promotes healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, along with reducing your risk of contracting heart disease and stomach cancer.
According to Garden-Robinson, Americans are evenly dividing their consumption of red, orange and yellow, green and white foods, but could use some improvement in their intake of blue and purple cuisine.
While filling your plate with ROY G BIV, keep in mind that at the end of your food rainbow awaits a pot of gold in the form of nutrients, of course, that are guaranteed to benefit your health.
For more information about Garden Robinson’s research, check out her PowerPoint on http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn595w.htm.