This multicolored assortment of farmers market fare is more than just appealing to the eye. The same chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors have been shown to prevent and treat chronic disease in humans.
Can you count how many phytonutrients are on display?
Plant based foods are loaded with colorful chemicals, called phytonutrients, that come in all colors of the rainbow, each color having distinctive health benefits for kids and adults alike.
Studies have found properties in phytonutrients that can boost our immune system,assist our liver to get rid of toxins, help our brain with learning and memory, regulate hormone balance and reduce our risk of cancer.
This is why we might all want to try to eat a rainbow of these foods each day.
Aim for one food from each color every day.
Not a big fruit or veggie eater? Start with a few a day and work up.
In addition to produce, phytonutrients are also found in beans, nuts, spices, olive oil.
Mix and match your plant based foods to boost your phytonutrient count.
Consider a combination of raw and cooked options throughout your day.
Be mindful of cooking methods and avoid deep frying or lengthy boiling. Overall,
steaming veggies* retains most nutrients when cooking.
*The following foods have been found to have more antioxidant phytonutrient properties when steamed vs raw: tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, peppers, and cabbage.
Buy organic when you are able - organic produce has higher phytonutrients than conventionally grown vegetables and fruits. When that is not possible, become familiar with the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen & Cleain 15 list of conventionally grown produce with highest to lowest pesticide contamination. Check this out at EWG.org
To learn more about how phytonutrients work, check out my article, A Rainbow of Phytonutrients.