For a healthy diet, eat a rainbow

Colorful fruits and vegetables offer important health benefits.

Candy Cumming, M.S., R.D., a former registered dietitian at Sharp HealthCare, explains why colorful foods are so important for your diet. Fruits, vegetables and beans are great, colorful sources of nutrients and antioxidants.

Why you need color in your diet

“Fruits, vegetables and beans provide all the colors we need,” says Cumming. “And why do we need them? They are chock full of antioxidants.”

Antioxidants build your immune system and help to protect from heart disease, cancer and strokes and macular degeneration, a form of blindness that can affect older individuals.

“If you get a multiple vitamin that says it contains antioxidants, it may contain one or two,” says Cumming.

You can add an extra boost of antioxidants by enjoying a variety of fruits, vegetables and legumes that can have hundreds, if not thousands, of antioxidants your body needs to protect itself from disease and build immunity.

Fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, prunes, spinach and tomatoes are loaded with potassium. “That’s one of the biggest blood pressure protectors in nature,” Cumming explains.

“Boron helps build your bones,” Cumming says. It’s naturally found in many foods, including apples, coffee, beans, milk and potatoes.

Eat a rainbow every week

In any given week, make sure you collect a rainbow of color by having red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet foods to enjoy as part of your meals.

“If you eat a rainbow frequently, you’ll get all the antioxidants you need. You’ll get the potassium and you’ll get all the things that help protect you,” Cumming says.

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