The secret to healthy bones, sharp memory, youthful skin, and disease prevention can be found in your fridge. The more colorful your diet, the more antioxidants you get. These compounds reduce overall cellular damage and prevent the hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease, stroke, even memory loss. Once an antioxidant finds its way in to our body it slows down, protects, or even prevents the oxidation of other molecules, called free radicals – before they can do damage.
The link between antioxidants and longevity first became popular after numerous studies on the traditional Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grain foods. Multiple studies have been conducted on Mediterranean populations, their diet and mortality due to diseases that are associated with free radicals. There was strong evidence that indicated a lower mortality caused by cardiovascular disease and cancer, primarily explained partly by its high content of antioxidants.
1. Yellow/Orange – Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, mango, corn, and melon all contain a variety of cartenoids, which reduce the risk of developing cancer.
2. Green – Vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are high in lutein, which keeps your vision sharp and clear. Recent studies have confirmed the presence of lutein and beta-carotene in green beans, despite their vibrant green color.
3. Blue/Purple – Blueberries and blackberries are chock full of anthocyanins, which prevent tumors from forming and suppress their growth. Its fiber content is high, which helps our digestive process and also acts against coronary heart disease. Eggplants not only features a number of vitamins, proteins and minerals but also contain important phytonutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure. Eggplants also contain folate, magnesium and niacin; as well as copper, manganese and thiamine (vitamin B1).
4. Red – Tomatoes and watermelon are loaded with lycopene, which may protect against cancer and heart disease. Recent studies indicate it is a major role in prevention of prostrate cancer.
5. White – Cauliflower offers the same cancer-fighting benefits as broccoli, its cruciferous cousin, and potatoes are a good source of vitamin C. There’s also evidence that the sulfur compounds in garlic and onions may ward off stomach and colon cancers. Other white foods like poached chicken, seafood, reduced-fat cheeses, eggs and tofu provide all-important protein.
Try mixing all the colors of health in a refreshing smoothie. Making a Smoothie is a delicious way to beef up your nutrient intake… and have some serious fun too! For more information on how to make smoothies, the best blenders, or just to ask a question be sure to visit The Smoothie Insider for great recipes and ideas.
Use this fun chart below to mix and match these colors. Research indicates that antioxidants can work together like a team, each boosting the other’s effects so always try to eat a wide variety.
|Broccoli||Yellow bell Pepper||Blueberries||Reduced fat cheese||Cherry tomatoes|
|Spinach||Apricots||Red Grapes||Jicama||Red kidney beans|
|Green Beans||Carrots||Eggplant||Cauliflower||Red bell pepper|
|Watercress||Mango||Dried Figs||Tofu/lean protein||Red onion|
Time to fire up the grill, or toss up a salad – olive oil and vinegar of course!