The WHO recommends increasing the amount of vegetables and fruits in the diet. However, not only their absolute amount is important, which, according to the 2013 Methodological Recommendations of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, should be 300 g of vegetables and fruits daily (in many countries, 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables are recommended throughout the day, with a capacity of about 75 g each). The more colorful the spectrum of plant foods on the plate, the more benefits it will bring to the body.
So what is behind each color of the fruit and vegetable basket?
Benefits of red vegetables and fruits
Red vegetables and fruits (tomatoes, bell peppers, red beans, red cabbage, beets, raspberries, strawberries, cherries and cherries, watermelon) are rich in the antioxidant lycopene. This compound is better absorbed by the body from foods stewed with a small amount of fat, such as spaghetti sauce. Scientists are now actively testing the hypothesis that lycopene reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Benefits of orange and yellow fruits and vegetables
Most orange and yellow fruits and vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, yellow squash, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, apricots, peaches, pineapples, mangoes, papaya) are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in our body, a substance that not only provides good vision, including night vision and prevents age-related macular degeneration, but also helps maintain healthy mucous membranes, skin, teeth and bones. Scientists have found that foods rich in beta-carotene can help reduce the likelihood of developing cancer, heart disease, and improve the immune system. Citrus fruits are an essential source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.
They also contain a lot of folic acid, a B vitamin that prevents the development of neural tube defects in the fetus during pregnancy.
Benefits of green vegetables and fruits
Green vegetables and fruits (cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, beans, asparagus, artichoke, avocado, lettuce, spinach, parsley and dill, green onions, zucchini, green apples and grapes, kiwi, pears) contain enough vitamins A and E, which are associated with a decrease in the development of chronic diseases. Vitamin K in these foods ensures proper blood clotting processes. Lutein in dark green leafy vegetables, cucumbers, and pears will help protect your eyes from premature age-related changes. According to scientists, indoles in broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables can protect against certain types of cancer. Greens (spinach) and broccoli are excellent sources of folic acid.
Benefits of blue and purple fruits and vegetables
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables (eggplant, blackberries, blueberries, plums, prunes, raisins, dates) are rich in anthocyanins, natural pigments that have powerful antioxidant properties that are useful in preventing cardiovascular disease. They also contain flavonoids and ellagic acid, which, according to scientists, can damage cancer cells.
Anthocyanins and ellagic acid are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce the risks of certain types of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Studies have shown a positive effect of increased consumption of blueberries (cowberries) on memory and age-related changes in the body.
Benefits of white fruits and vegetables
White fruits and vegetables (apples, bananas, ginger, garlic, onions, potatoes, cauliflower, parsnips) are valuable for their high amount of dietary fiber, which is vital for good digestion and healthy intestinal walls. Allicin (found in garlic) protects against high cholesterol and hypertension. The antioxidant quercetin, which is especially rich in apples and pears, probably reduces the risk of stroke and improves brain function.
So we can see that every color has its benefits. However, you should take into account the possibility of allergies in young children or adults.
A new product should be tried in small quantities first. Let’s make our lives brighter, starting with the plate!