Forget Food Trends, Eat the Rainbow!

Nutrition | | August 10, 2009 at 6:32 am
colorfood

Photo by Jean Sébastien Roy.

It’s hard to keep up with the latest and greatest foods. One day it’s a tropical acai berry and the next it’s a synthetic vitamin packed energy drink. So when patients ask me how much they should be eating, and of which superfoods, I tell them to eat from the rainbow.

Here’s my general rule: eat as many colors of fruits and vegetables as you can. Each color corresponds to a powerful group of pigments called bioflavonoids. These amazing pigment molecules give us all the beautiful colors in fruits and vegetables: red, orange, yellow, purple–all the colors except for green.

The red-purple-blue part of the spectrum corresponds to anthocyanins, the pigments that make red grapes, blueberries, and beets so healthy. The yellow portion of the spectrum is pigmented by anthoxanthins, which make chocolate and onions so beneficial.

Bioflavonoids are power-packed anti-oxidants! They counter-act and neutralize the gazillions of free-radicals formed when you process food, breathe in air and metabolize. Without the anti-oxidant pigments found in fruits and vegetables, the free-radicals would be unleashed within your body’s cells damaging your tissues, creating inflammation. This can lead to chronic ailments like heart disease and cancer and speed up the aging process. 

Here are a few yummy examples from the food rainbow:

  • Red – bell peppers, rhubarb stalks, cherries, red cabbage
  • Orange – carrots, yams, pumpkins, citrus fruits
  • Yellow – onions, corn, yellow squash
  • Blue/purple –  beets, blueberries, red grapes, purple corn, purple potatoes

This list is abbreviated, as it’s only a general guide. Take a trip down to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and choose as many different colors of fruits and vegetables as you can. It’ll brighten your day, your meal and your health.

GibranDr. Gibran Ramos completed his six year training and internship in Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine at National College of Natural Medicine. Dr. Ramos helps patients transform their lives and optimize their well-being at a private practice in Portland, Oregon.

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