10 Reasons to Eat Colorful Foods

© Sxchu/marganz© Sxchu/marganzTake a look at the contents of your closet. Do you see a sea of dark colors? While black and tan clothes can be appealing, sometimes they are rather lifeless. We see bright colors in the stores, we can acknowledge their beauty, and yet we still tend to gravitate toward the dark side. Maybe it is easier, maybe it is more convenient, or maybe it is a quick fix. Whatever the reason, our attraction to darker colors sometimes overshadows the daring choice of fiery reds or scintillating yellows - especially in the winter. This general mindset even applies to food when it comes to the colors featured on your dinner plate.


Click here to see 10 Reasons to Eat Colorful Foods

Colors are always in style when it comes to sprucing up your diet. As a general rule of thumb, blandly colored foods indicate lesser nutritional value - just think of all of your dull-looking fast food. Colorful foods are more than just aesthetically pleasing; their pigments actually have some pretty powerful tendencies to help combat diseases and improve your life.

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Nutrient rich and loaded with vitamins, colorful foods have the power to help with weight loss, increase energy, and even help combat cancer. Including these wonder foods into your diet is not as much of a challenge as it seems. Try making a mixed fruit salsa as a healthy party appetizer or grilling up sweet summer fruit for an interesting twist. The importance of vegetables shouldn't go unnoticed either - attempt a spicy sweet roasted delight or follow these simple steps to improve the way you cook these vital foods.

Trim Out the Fat
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Appropriately called the Rainbow Diet, eating a variety of colorful foods will help increase weight loss. It's more than just the obvious fact that eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you - it is the combination of each of these colorful foods that helps you shed the pounds. The more nutrient rich your diet is, the more your metabolism is sped up to work toward a healthier you. Orange-colored foods in particular are great for weight loss, mostly because they promote detoxification in the body. As toxins leave the body, the weight tends to follow.


Flava-Whosa-Whatsit?
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When we say flavonoids, please resist the urge to say gesundheit! Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in the skin of fruits and vegetables - particularly in the blue family. Their benefits reach across a spectrum of health topics, with the power to combat aging and even assist in warding off some cancers. They hypothetically inhibit inflammation and tumor growth and increase detoxifying enzymes. Eating a large amount of colorful foods with effectively expose you to the abundance of flavonoids your body needs to get to a healthy state.


Go with the Flow
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No longer is "getting the blues" considered to be a bad thing. Dark indigo and blue foods like blueberries, plums, and Concord grapes can actually help improve your circulation. Blue foods contain water-soluble vitamins, which strengthen tiny blood vessels. You'll notice a significant difference in the time it takes for bruises to heal, as well as get relief for your swollen feet and ankles if you add more blue foods to your diet. Blue foods are best consumed in the evening after a particularly fattening meal, when your body becomes more sluggish and blood flow weakens. They are also said to improve your voice and assist in organs in and around the neck. Plus, as part of the flavonoid family, they even help with memory loss, too!


Pro-Protein
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In the color spectrum, white is actually defined as a lack of color but when it comes to the food pyramid, white is as valuable as ever! To keep our immune system functioning properly and producing enzymes, our bodies need protein. Foods like poached chicken, seafood, reduced-fat cheeses, eggs, and tofu provide this important energy source.




The Energizer
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Say goodbye to those horrible energy drinks. A low energy level effects more than your productivity during the day - it can cause a poor memory, lack of concentration, tension, irritability, and digestive problems. Adding a little yellow to your diet may combat these complications. Yellow-colored foods like bananas, lemons, and even rice contain anti-oxidizing sun energy and are high in vitamin C to naturally increase the body's energy levels. Keeping more active will eventually lead to measurable weight loss since your body will contain the energy levels needed to keep moving and drop the pounds.


Seeing Is Believing
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Familiar with the old wives' tale that eating your carrots will help your eyesight? It's true! Ok, maybe not directly, but eating carrots does put you on the right track. Foods that are the color orange contain a high count of beta-carotene. The antioxidant is converted to vitamin A to boost eye health and it even improves night vision!





Cancer, Begone!
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The coolest thing about the food rainbow is that almost every color you ingest has cancer-fighting properties. Anthoxanthins that are found in white foods can reduce the risk of stomach cancer, foods with red pigments can help combat prostate cancer because of a specific pigment called lycopene, carotenoids in orange-colored foods are antioxidants that can reduce the risk of cancer, and green foods combat cancer as well. But don't just munch on one color alone. Be sure to take in a medley of colors to increase your chance of reducing your cancer risk. With their powers combined they represent a healthful dosage of phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring plant chemicals.


Boost Your Immune System
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With winter colds waiting to sneak up on us just in time for the holidays, a healthy immune system from colorful foods is like a gift from the garden. Rainbow foods get their pigments from those powerful phytochemicals that help reduce the risk of cancers. These naturally occurring chemicals have disease-preventative and protective properties to beef up a weakened immune system. Studies show that carotenoids in yellow, orange, and green foods stimulate the human immune system's T-cells, which help kill bacteria and viruses. If you're trying to avoid a season curled up in bed, grab some whole fruits or veggies before you head out the door.


Silky Smooth Skin
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What's more effective then piling on the products? Eat your way to healthy skin and get a glow from the rainbow of foods at your disposal. Damaging sunrays are warded off by the powerful antioxidant in red-colored foods, lycopene; and beta-carotene and vitamin C in orange foods delay the appearance of wrinkles by protecting the skins' natural collagen. Plus, recent studies show that eating a variety of colored veggies and fruits can give you a healthy looking, natural tan through the consumption of carotenoids.



Healthier Bones
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While milk still does the body (and bones) good, an intake of vitamin D is not enough to keep your body's structure strong. At the tender age of 30, the body stops building bone mass, so what you have needs protection. Plant pigments that are brightly colored actually help bone density and prevent osteoporosis. While carotenoids are helpful in the promotion of healthy bones, green foods like broccoli and collard greens contain high amounts of calcium that help, too!


- Lauren Gordon, The Daily Meal

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