In the early 2000s a group of doctors published a novel advocating a diet rich in plant-based, colorful foods which they called “The Rainbow Diet.” The Rainbow Diet has grown in popularity throughout the years as research has confirmed that eating a variety of colorful produce in place of other less-healthy foods can prevent the onset of multiple diseases and ailments, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and certain types of cancers. The colors of the produce indicate which phytonutrients the plants contain.
Red produce such as raspberries, red bell peppers, and cherries get their red coloring from a plant pigment called anthocyanin or the carotenoid hydrocarbon lycopene. Anthocyanins in red fruits and vegetables have been shown to fight off free radicals and protect the body against inflammation, cancer, and certain viruses. Similarly, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is healthy for the brain, heart, and eyes.
ORANGE AND YELLOW PRODUCE
Orange and yellow produce is generally high in vitamin C and carotenoids, which act as antioxidants in the body. These types of produce strengthen your immune system and have also been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer in women by 19 percent. Since our bodies do not produce carotenoids, it is essential we consume them in our diets. Carrots, oranges, bananas, and certain melons are good sources of orange and yellow produce.
BLUE, PURPLE, AND BLACK PRODUCE
Blue, purple, and black produce include blueberries, blackberries, black grapes, and purple cauliflower. These receive their deep coloring from anthocyanins. Aside from the benefits mentioned above of anthocyanins, these powerful flavonoids are terrific for brain health. A study in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias found that older adults who ate more anthocyanin-rich berries had a significant reduction in cognitive decline.
GREEN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Green fruits and vegetables contain potent pigment chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a particularly wonderful phytonutrient. It helps purify your liver, build up strong red blood cells, improve blood sugar levels, and deodorize the body. Chlorophyll can also help reduce hunger and relieve pain from inflammation. Brussel sprouts, broccoli, green cabbage, and bok choy also contain indoles, which may help the body fight off cancer cells.
WHITE AND BROWN PRODUCE
The brighter-colored fruits and vegetables often get a lot of attention when considering health benefits, and even though they are not colors in the rainbow, they are included in the “Rainbow Diet”. You may have heard the myth that iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value, well it’s not true at all. Researchers have found that iceberg lettuce contains a compound called apigenin. Celery holds this compound as well. Apigenin can prevent cancer growth and possibly even kill cancer cells. It has also been shown to improve neurological functioning. Other white and brown fruits and vegetables contain anthoxanthin, which is a great antioxidant. White and brown produce is also high in potassium.
Crafting a diet and exercise plan can help you improve your life. Working with a physical therapist will ensure your plan is perfect for your needs, abilities, and goals. Phoenix Osteopractic Physical Therapy is ready to help you, contact us at (972) 232-2310 or visit http://www.phoenixopt.com today!