Colorful plates aren’t just pleasing to the eye—they’re also beneficial for your health. The variety of hues in fruits and vegetables represents a wide range of nutrients, each with its own set of health benefits. Here’s how adding a spectrum of colors to your diet can do more than make for an Instagram-worthy meal.
Red for Heart Health
Foods like tomatoes, red peppers, strawberries, and watermelons get their rich color from an antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene is linked to heart health and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Orange and Yellow for Immunity
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are loaded with carotenoids like beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. This nutrient helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and boosts the immune system. Think carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes, and mangoes.
Green for Detoxification
Greens are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They’re filled with chlorophyll, fiber, folate, and a variety of vitamins. Leafy greens like spinach and kale can help with detoxification and support liver health.
Blue and Purple for Longevity
The deep colors of blueberries, purple grapes, and beets come from anthocyanins, which are linked to longevity and may lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. They also support brain health and can help with memory.
White and Brown for Gut Health
Don’t underestimate the power of pale produce. White and brown foods like garlic, onions, and mushrooms are high in powerful compounds like allicin, which can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and support gut health by promoting beneficial bacteria.
By embracing the full spectrum of food colors, you’re more likely to consume a diverse range of nutrients necessary for good health. Additionally, phytonutrients—responsible for the colors of plant foods—often have antioxidant properties that protect against disease.
When planning meals, aim for as many colors as you can on your plate, not just for the aesthetic appeal but for the array of health benefits. This approach to eating not only maximizes your nutrient intake but also encourages a varied and enjoyable diet.