Fruits and vegetables have long been touted as a necessary staple in your diet because it is chock full of vitamins, minerals and other “good stuff.”
The last few decades have turned up plenty of evidence that that “good stuff” is full of disease fighting components.
Thanks to these new discoveries, the Food Pyramid we all know and studied in school now boasts a daily requirement of seven or more servings a day instead of the original five!
That “good stuff” in fruits and vegetables are such things as antioxidants, phytochemicals, lycopene, lutien, anthoxanthins and much more. However, don't think that those vitamins and minerals have taken a back seat.
They are just as important to your overall health too. Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fiber and low in calories, a good combination for dieters as they will make you feel full and prevent you from overeating.
Scientists and food researchers say that the color of the fruit and vegetables is indicative of how healthy it is for you. The darker or the richer the color is, the better for your health it is. These rich colors contain different phytochemicals which bring out the disease fighting components. Many of these fruits and vegetables are now being touted as super vegetables and super fruits because they contain way more nutrients than the average food.
Fruits and vegetables with disease-fighting components
1. Red Hues – Tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers, pink grapefruit, red grapes, raspberries and more! Lycopene is present in some red vegetables and fruits like tomatoes and are known as cancer fighters. What is interesting is that once tomatoes are cooked down into its stewed form, in ketchup or even in tomato paste, there is even more lycopene.
2. Royal Purple Colors – The anthocyanins in purple vegetables and fruits help lower cancer risk. They also have anticoagulant properties which is great for those with heart disease risks because it means blood is less likely to clot. Some examples of the purple foods include prunes, the dark concord grapes, blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage, beets and eggplant.
3. Orange and Yellow Hues – Beta carotene is what gives vegetables and fruits their orange and yellow color. Oranges, carrots, pumpkin, orange peppers, guava, mangoes, acorn and butternut squash, corn, yams, apricots and cantaloupe are a few examples. These fruits and vegetables and many more help fight or even prevent cancer as well as improve your immune system and reduce heart disease risk.
4. Jolly Green – Green is a favorite friend of the healthy super fruit and vegetable set because it is chockfull of many disease fighters. Spinach, bok choy, broccoli, kale, lettuce and many other greens all have lutein, a chemical component which reduces cancer risk as well as heart disease, macular degeneration, stroke and more. Dark leafy green veggies contain plenty of B vitamins too.
5. White Hues – Yes, there are white colored fruits and vegetables that are packed full of healthy stuff like allicin and anthoxanthins, chemical components that fight against certain types of cancer as well as lower hypertension. Garlic, onions, bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms, parsnips and potatoes are examples of some super white fruits and vegetables.