What are the healthiest fruits and vegetables?

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Answered by: Danielle, An Expert in the Nutrition - General Category
When people hear the words ‘fruits and veggies' they usually assume that the speaker is talking about healthy foods. Most of the time, they're right! Even though most fruits and vegetables are very healthy, eating strictly carrots every day would not make for a healthy diet. Because different fruits and vegetables contain different nutritious elements, it's important to choose from a wide variety of plant-based foods so you are able to see the greatest health benefits from your diet. A great way to do this is to eat fruits and vegetables of all different colors. A good rule of thumb is to eat five different colors per day, which will ensure that you are getting a high quantity of many different nutrients. Along with being healthy, eating different-colored fruits and vegetables will add variety and different flavors your meals! When it comes to your diet, take a “taste the rainbow” approach, but make sure it doesn’t involve Skittles.



Red

Red fruits and vegetables are absolutely essential because they contain lycopene, a red carotene that has cancer-fighting properties, can lower blood pressure, reduce the growth of tumors, and lower bad cholesterol levels. Not only are red fruits and veggies healthy, they are also pretty tasty. Tomatoes (and pretty much any food that has a tomato base), watermelon, grapefruit, cherries, guava, and papaya all contain lycopene, the nutrient that gives them their red color.

Orange and Yellow



Vegetables that are orange or yellow in appearance contain beta carotene, an antioxidant that boosts the immune system, promotes collagen growth, and reduces macular degeneration, prostate cancer, and bad cholesterol levels. A lot of green vegetables also contain beta carotene, but orange and yellow sources of beta carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and mangoes.

Green

Everyone has heard about how important it is to eat leafy greens. The reason for this is that they contain so many different nutrients like fiber, iron, phytochemicals, lutein, calcium, vitamin C, carotenoids, and vitamin K. Along with these awesome nutrients, they are also incredibly low in calories, which means that they can help you lose weight. Leafy greens to make sure to grab next time you are at the store are kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, broccoli rabe, and romaine lettuce.

Blue & Purple

Purple and blue fruits and vegetables often contain anthocyanins, a type of healthy flavenoid. Because of this awesome nutrient, blue and purple fruits and vegetables can decrease the risk of cancer, slow aging, reduce inflammation, and decrease the risk of diabetes. Some tasty purple and blue fruits and veggies are purple corn, blueberries, eggplant, acai, Concord grapes, and red cabbage.

When you make sure to eat fruits and vegetables of different colors each day, you will reap many more health benefits than you could even imagine. I have noticed a huge difference in my life since I started eating from the fruit and veggie color wheel. I have more energy, am losing body fat, and feel more vital than ever.

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