The Rainbow Diet – A Colorful Approach to Eating Healthy

The rainbow diet can aid in menopausal symptomsHow many of you eat the rainbow on a daily basis? No, I have not lost my mind. I promise I didn’t hit my head this morning and wake up seeing rainbows, pots of gold and leprechauns. When I talk about eating the rainbow, I am referring to eating a diet rich in color. As many women scramble through their daily activities, chances are we tend to eat blander, uninteresting colors because they are less perishable and readily accessible from the corner convenience store. A muffin, a bag of chips, some fries at the drive-thru; these are all foods that bring us temporary satisfaction, but do not necessarily color our diets with the vital nutrients that we need on a daily basis.

While it seems more convenient to grab a bag of chips on the go, all it takes is a small bit of preparation. Cut up single serving of veggies and fruit to grab as you walk out the door. This will actually save you time throughout your day because you won’t be spending 10 minutes in a fast food drive-thru line.

The color that we need in our daily diets should come from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The easiest way to eat the rainbow is to shop the perimeter of the grocery aisle. Limit the amount of time and money spent in the interior aisles of the grocery store. During the summer months, visit local farmer’s markets and load up on a variety of seasonal color foods to create wonderful dishes.

Listed below are examples and descriptions of the food color spectrum. While all fruits and vegetables provide protection from weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, some provide added benefits that may not be widely known. Whether you are experiencing menopausal symptoms or not, eating healthy is the obvious choice for staying fit, inside and out.

Red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene. This natural plant pigment is a major force in reducing the risks of certain cancers. Lycopene has also been speculated to improve skin appearance and prevent wrinkles as well as sun damage. In addition to lycopene, some red fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that protect cells from damage.

Examples of red foods:

  • Red potatoes
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubard
  • Watermelon
  • Beets

 Orange and yellow foods have a natural plant pigment called carotenoids. The nutrients in these foods help with a surplus of bodily functions. They improve eye function, lower heart disease risk, boost the immune system and help reduce cancer risk.

Examples of orange/yellow foods:

  • Apricots
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Peaches
  • Pears

Green fruits and vegetables get their color from chlorophyll.  Lutein is also found in some green foods like spinach, green peppers and cucumbers. Chlorophyll and lutein are partners, working together to help reduce risk of cataracts and age-related eye degeneration. Macular degeneration means more than needing reading glasses. Untreated macular degeneration can lead to permanent blindness.

For pregnant women, the leafy greens like spinach and broccoli have folate which can prevent birth defects.

Examples of green foods:

  •  Limes
  • Green Beans
  • Green apples
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Zucchini

Blue/purple fruits and vegetables get their color from anthocyanins. These anthocyanins protect cells from damage and, in some studies, have been shown to be linked with improved memory function and healthy aging. And, again, eating these types of fruits and vegetables lowers your risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Examples of blue/purple foods:

  •  Eggplant
  • Blueberries
  • Purple grapes
  • Figs
  • Prunes
  • Raisins

White fruits and vegetables are often ignored and under-used by the average household. But don’t discount their importance in your diet. Members of this group, like bananas, are high in potassium. While other members of the group are high in allicin, a chemical that has been known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure while reducing the risk of stomach cancer and heart disease.

Examples of white foods:

  •  Onions
  • Garlic
  • Bananas
  • Parsnips
  • Mushrooms
  • Jicama

What are your favorite color groups? How often do you eat the rainbow?

About Denise McGrail

I am thrilled and blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of The General Gazette. Like so many women, I put off my dreams of being a professional, published writer for longer than intended in order to meet the more practical needs of my family. However, after much soul-searching, I realized I was doing a disservice to them and me by not following my dreams and my passions.

Why am I excited to be part of The General Gazette? Well, I am a woman who seems to flit and flutter from one thought to the next and I have a million ideas I am always eager to share. The General Gazette is a website intended for women of all ages, all incomes and all lifestyles. We don't limit our audience and, therefore, I will not limit the information I share with you.

Each day I will keep you guessing with fresh, thought-provoking articles! Happy reading!