Let’s eat a rainbow. Sounds awesome? And it is. Provided that’s an all-natural rainbow of vegetables and fruits, of course. (What, did you think we were actually going to be eating real rainbows? Maybe you’ve been in that handstand too long. Carefully lower yourself down and let’s talk.)
Say you only ate one vegetable every day, for the rest of your life. And that vegetable was…I dunno…steamed carrots. Well, good for you, you are eating one serving of vegetable a day. And carrots are good source of carotene, so again, good on you. But what about a well-balanced and nourishing diet…that’s what we’re working on here, right? (Yes! says everyone, with enthusiasm)
Eating the rainbow is a simple premise. And simple is so much more sustainable in the long term. This 30 day challenge is about creating habits that work a week, a month, a year and a decade from now. Eat mostly meat and vegetables. Simple. Eat vegetables and fruits in all the colors and varieties available to you, reap the rewards. Simple.
The more variety you can eat, the wider the range of nutrients your body receives. The more nutrients you receive, the healthier you can be. Here’s a little list of benefits by color. And this is just a taste. (pun intended) There’s way more goodness out in the vegetable world. Challenge yourself to eat at least 3 different colors a day.
Good Sources: red grapes, and yes red wine too (in moderation)
Science-y Benefits: Polyphenol neutralizes free radicals and can reduce inflammation.
Good Source: chile peppers
Science-y Benefits: Capsaicin is a pain reliever. It staves off hunger and even accelerates calories burning.
Good Sources: tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, red bell peppers, guava
Science-y Benefits: This anti-oxidant has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, and certain forms of cancer, as well as sun damage. Lycopene-rich foods have been shown to lessen symptoms of asthma and shortness of breath in people when they exercise.
Good Source: turmeric
Science-y Benefits: An excellent anti-inflammatory. The antioxidant properties of curcumin may help counter the body’s negative responses to high-fat foods.
Good Sources: Papaya, tangerines
Science-y Benefits: This carotenoid plays an important role in vision and in bone and cell growth.
Good Sources: sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, cantaloupe
Science-y Benefits: Alpha-carotene becomes vitamin A in the body, which bolsters immunity.
Hesperidin and Naringenin:
Good Sources: Citrus
Science-y Benefits: These heavy-hitting flavonoids stave off inflammation and blood vessel damage caused by poor diets. Not that you have one of those.
Good Source: pineapple
Science-y Benefits: This enzyme can prevent or ease indigestion.
Good Sources: citrus
Science-y Benefits: These may lower cholesterol and protect against breast, skin, and stomach cancers.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin:
Good Sources: leafy greens
Science-y Benefits: This duo keeps eyes strong, protecting the retina and reducing the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Good Sources: watercress, leeks, arugula, parsley
Science-y Benefits: Present in virtually every green plant food, this may decrease the risk of liver cancer.
Apigenin and Luteolin:
Good Sources: celery, parsley
Science-y Benefits: This dynamic duo has neuro-protective properties and may fight off diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Good Sources: Kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli
Science-y Benefits: these help purge the body of potential toxins and carcinogens. Another reason to love cruciferous veggies.
Good Sources: purple cauliflower, purple cabbage
Science-y Benefits: One more found in cruciferous veggies, indoles might slow the metabolism of carcinogens.
Good Sources: red cabbage, eggplant, grapes, berries
Science-y Benefits: Antioxidants that improve brain function and balance. They may also reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.