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When I go over a client’s food journal, the one thing that remains constant seems to be a diet of the same foods over and over again. The only vegetable is usually broccoli or green beans. There seems to be a lot of rice, pasta, potatoes, and bread. They might eat chicken four nights per week too. The reason it is so important to eat a variety of foods is the diverse vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, flavones, beta-carotene, and more that we get from a diverse diet. Plus, a diverse diet feeds our gut flora. 

To help you eat the rainbow of foods available to us, here is a handy chart. 

Red foods – support inflammation & immunity

Eat red apples, red peppers, red bell peppers, raspberries, tomatoes, red peppers, strawberries, pomegranate, radishes, and red beets

These supply anthocyanins, carotenoids, ellagic acid, flavones, lycopene, quercetin, and fisetin. 

Orange foods – support reproductive health & hormone balance

Eat oranges, clementines, orange bell peppers, papaya, butternut squash, carrots, lentils, orange tomatoes, persimmon, potatoes, onions, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, orange hot peppers, turmeric

These supply alpha- and beta-carotene, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, and curcuminoids. They help support eye health and may help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. 

Yellow foods – support digestion

Eat yellow carrots, yellow bell peppers, pineapple, organic corn, banana, lemons, yellow beets, ginger, parsnips, pears

These supply bioflavonoids, bromelain, gingerol, lutein, prebiotic fibers, rutin, and zeaxanthin. 

Green foods – support heart health

Eat broccoli, green onions, avocado, Brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas, parsley, rosemary, dill, green peppers, peas, romaine, fennel, kiwi, jalapeno, celery, spinach, asparagus, and lima beans. 

These supply catechins, chlorophyll, folates, l-theanine, glucosinolates, isoflavones, phytosterols, silymarin, tannins, sulforaphane, and vitexin. Cruciferous veggies in particular may help lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. 

Purple foods – brain health

Eat purple cabbage, endive, blueberries, red onion, purple potato, red grapes, eggplant, plums, figs, beets, blackberries, elderberries, and red beans

These supply anthocyanins, flavonoids, phenolic acids, proanthocyanins, resveratrol, and stilbenes. These anti-inflammatory foods also may help brain function, Type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. 

White & Brown foods like cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic and leeks also have numerous health properties like anthoxanthins, flavonols, flavones and allicin. They are anti-inflammatory and have antioxidant properties. 

Basically, eating a variety of colors will increase your intake of different nutrients to benefit various areas of your health.

How to make a daily meal plan:

Breakfast: Omelet with mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and bell peppers, side of avocado. Or, a fruit smoothie with collagen peptides and avocado. Change it up every day. 

Lunch: Salad greens, cucumbers, sugar snap peas paired with beans or salmon. 

Dinner: Chicken with roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts or a homemade soup with celery, carrots, onions, zucchini, parsnips and kale. Try various proteins like venison, bison, goat, lamb, rabbit and quail to get a variety of amino acids and fatty acids from animal meat. 

Don’t miss my Culinary Nutrition Cooking Class October 16 at Farm Station Café in Vint Hill, near Gainesville. The topic is Superfoods for Super Immunity. Learn more at www.UnlockBetterHealth.com.

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