Photograph by Cayla Zahoran via Whirl Magazine | Styling by Allie Wist
One of the easiest ways to be sure you are eating a healthy diet is to ensure your plate is filled with a variety of different naturally colored foods. Various fruits and vegetables offer different nutrients and benefits and to be sure you are getting everything your body needs to function optimally you should be eating a variety of these foods. Eating fruits or vegetables raw is the best way to get the most of the out of their benefits. The cooking process can destroy the necessary enzymes needed to help digest the food as well as many of the nutrients. If you do cook your food, try steaming it lightly or cooking it for as short of a time as possible. Cooked vegetables are better than not eating them at all though so if cooked veggies is what you like, go for it! Just try to mix in raw foods when you can. If you aren’t a fan of veggies, get creative and try mixing them in to more flavorful dishes. For example add spinach to lasagna or pureed red peppers into spaghetti sauce. You can also throw a handful of kale into a fruit smoothie and you’ll likely never even know its in there! Just remember that what gives a fruit or vegetable its color is the nutrients that are in it. The darker the better! Below are some colorful options and some of their many benefits:
- Beets – a natural purifier of the blood. May help protect against some cancers.
Try: Use a cheese grater to shred up a raw beet and throw it on a salad or as a topper to soup or chili.
- Red cabbage – A good source of anti-oxidants. Also a good anti-inflammatory.
Try: Chop it up and make a salsa out of it but combining it with tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, onion, and jalapeno.
- Other red foods: Tomato, strawberries, red peppers, raspberries
- Peaches, peppers, oranges, yams, sweet potatoes, carrots
- Squash, bananas, peppers, pineapples, pears, mangoes
Green: Leafy greens are known for their iron, anti-oxidants, calcium, and various other benefits. Some of the healthiest foods are deep green veggies. You should be eating some green veggies everyday.
- Deep green veggies: Kale, spinach, chard, broccoli,
- Other greens: Lettuce, celery, avocado, artichoke, asparagus, green beans
- Blue berries, blackberries, grapes,