Why Blue & Purple
Deep purple, and blue-ish fruits and vegetables contain a powerful chemical called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins act as powerful antioxidants protecting cells from damage.
Anthocyanins may support healthy blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease (by preventing unnatural clot formations), improve memory function (overall healthy aging) and lower risk of cancer.
Blue/purple fruits and veggies are rich in flavonoids which may be able to make our blood vessels healthier, reverse the short-term memory loss associated with aging, improve motor skills, and help prevent bacteria from sticking to cells (such as in the lining of the urinary tract.)
Examples: Blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, figs, juneberries, plums, prunes, purple grapes, raisins.
Lycopene is the predominant pigment in reddish fruits and veggies. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer, and protection against heart attacks.
Examples: Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, cranberries, and tomato like products.
Yellow/green foods exhibit a richness in lutein. Lutein is particularly beneficial for eye health. There are lutein receptors in the macula of the eye, and lutein helps protect against age-related macular degeneration. For a somewhat surprising source, check out pistachio nuts—there is lutein in the green skin around the nut.
Another reason to grab some yellow/green fruit at the grocery store is its high amount of vitamin C.
Examples: Avocado, kiwifruit, spinach and other leafy greens, pistachios
Now onto green foods…..The natural plant pigment chlorophyll colors green fruits and vegetables. Also, green foods are rich in isothiocyanates, which induce enzymes in the liver that assist the body in removing potentially carcinogenic compounds. These are compounds that cause cancer.
Green vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, as well as carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. Folic acid is needed to prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy, and vitamin K is essential in blood clot formation. Diets high in potassium are associated with lowering blood pressure, and there is an inverse relationship between cruciferous vegetables and cancer, especially colon and bladder cancers.
Examples: Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts
Orange fruits and vegetables contain the phytochemical Carotenoids. Carotenoids are important in the body because they convert to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is critical for the eyes, bone development, cell differentiation, and immune function.
Yellow/Orange and Orange fruits and vegetables protect our eyes from cataracts and have anti-inflammatory properties. They also help with blood sugar regulation.
Examples: Pumpkin, sweet orange peppers, papaya, orange juice, oranges, apricots, cantaloupe, winter squash, and carrots are great choices for this chemical compound.
Allium is the pigment in white fruits and veggies. This is a sulfur compound that may alter carcinogen (cancer) formation, cholesterol levels, blood clotting and blood pressure.
Examples: Garlic, onions, and leeks.