Focus on getting fruits and veggies from three different color groups to maximize the benefits from the produce you eat.
We have been hearing the 5-a-day slogan for the past 10 years? March is the Nutrition Month and it’s time to ditch this mantra and embrace 3-a-day instead. Yes we all need to try to eat more fruits and vegetables. But it’s more important to eat different 3 color groups. That’s because they all contain different sets of antioxidants. So let’s go 3-a-day: in other words, 3 colors a day. Let’s take a look at the 5 different color groups.
Green veggies are no strangers to us. Indeed, when we say vegetables, most people think of veggies within the green color group. That’s because green veggies are full of fiber and also a vitamin called lutein, that reduces the risk of storke and protect against macular degeneration.
The next group is white. White is also no stragner to us. That’s because potatoes are in this group. But other than potatoes, there are other nutrient-rich produce in this group, such as cauliflower, mushroom and bananas. Collectively, white produce contain antioxidant anthoxanthins and allicin, which helps lower blood pressure and protect against stomach cancer.
Red color produce are delicious. Red-colored produce contain lycopene, that’s another powerful antioxidant that helps prevent prostate cancer.
Orange group produce contains potassium and beta-carotene that helps prevent cancer, especially the lung, esophagus and stomach cancers.
The last group purple is my favorite, but is probably the group most people eat the least. They contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help prevent heart disease and lower the risk of cancer.
So how do you go about adding more fruits and veggies in your diet and more importantly, more colors?
The easiest thing to do is to add veggies or produce in every single meal. Or if you are making salsa on movie night, can you add more corn niblets or diced carrtos? You see the combination is endless, just use your imagination. There’s really no right or wrong way of eating fruits and veggies, as long as you are eating more.
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Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.