Phytonutrients: Paint your plate with the colors of the rainbow

Did you know that adding color to your meals will help you live a longer, healthier life? Colorful fruits and vegetables can paint a beautiful picture of health because they contain phytonutrients, compounds that give plants their rich colors as well as their distinctive tastes and aromas. Phytonutrients also strengthen a plant’s immune system. They protect the plant from threats in their natural environment such as disease and excessive sun. When humans eat plant foods, phytonutrients protect us from chronic diseases. Phytonutrients have potent anti-cancer and anti-heart disease effects. And epidemiological research suggests that food patterns that include fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and may be protective against certain types of cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends 2 1/2 cups per day of fruits and vegetables. The most recent US Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming even more: 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Getting started To get started, try to include as many plant-based colors in your meals and snacks as possible. Each color provides various health benefits and no one color is superior to another, which is why a balance of all colors is most important. Getting the most phytonutrients also means eating the colorful skins, the richest sources of the phytonutrients, along with the paler flesh. Try to avoid peeling foods like app...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Health Healthy Eating Source Type: blogs