Fruit and Vegetable-Fueled Diet The Mediterranean Way
Almost all health organizations across 6 continents have had mentioned the phrase “Eating a Rainbow” at least once and that expression was meant to encourage us to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. But those multicolored fruits and vegetables are not just for eye candy, because they contain healthy nutrients called phytochemicals which are good for your body.
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant-based chemicals that protect plants against insects and UV (ultraviolet) light among other things. Even though plants uses light for photosynthesis (a process that converts light and other nutrients into food) they cannot utilize UV light as it is hazardous to them. For us humans, phytochemicals help us in the prevention of chronic diseases.
The good thing is that many herbs, red wine, coffee, teas, and dark chocolate have phytochemicals in them, so you may want to include them in your diet. We will talk about the different colors of fruits and vegetables and what nutrients they contain in this article. Fortunately, the Mediterranean diet is already encouraging you to eat these health-giving fruits and vegetables.
Here are ways on how you can get these phytonutrients more on a daily basis.
- The National Health Services of the United Kingdom suggests that you consume 400 grams of fruit and vegetables every day, or 5 portions of 80 grams of each.
- You may not want to remove the skin of the vegetables or fruits as they contain high amounts of antioxidants Foods such as orange sweet potato, red apple, and the purple eggplant are examples of these.
- But it’s not just in the foods you eat, because you can also drink herb/fruit/vegetable extracts that are rich in phytochemicals!
- Drink green tea every day.
- You may also want to limit your alcohol intake to a glass per day and make sure that it’s only red wine.
- Buy a coffee maker and drink only pure black coffee and try to drink it with less sugar, milk and other flavorings.
- For desserts try to eat frozen blueberries or 1 ounce of dark chocolate.
The Importance of a Colorful Diet
Isn’t it funny that most tv commercials will not encourage you to buy apples or lettuce, but show you fast food and junk food in all their colorful splendor? Well, if only scientists and holistic doctors were the ones advertising the food we eat, we would be inundated with colorful foods, which are generally fruits and vegetables. These contain many of the vitamins and antioxidants we need and the calories they have are essentially negligible.
In case no one told you how important it is to add some color to your diet, then read this out loud: colorful fruits and vegetables help maintain good health and their nutrients are essential to protect your body against cancer, heart disease, vision loss, hypertension and other diseases.
Red Fruits and Vegetables
These types of fruits and vegetables contains high amount of antioxidants, which protect our hearts. They help reduce our bodies from developing atherosclerosis, hypertension and high cholesterol. Besides that they also help fight against many types of cancer, including prostate cancer and even improve brain function
- Red cabbage
- Red grapes
- Red apples
Blue and Purple Fruits and Vegetables
These types of fruits and vegetables also help fight against heart disease, stroke and cancer. Plus they are also key elements in improving your cognitive function and keep you healthy even in old age. Another health benefit they possess is they maintain urinary tract health and are good for your digestive system.
Blue and Purple Vegetables:
- Purple cabbage
- Purple potatoes
Blue and Purple Fruits:
- Purple grapes
Orange and Yellow Fruits and Vegetables
If you want to stay sharp throughout your childhood, youth, young adulthood, adulthood and in your prime years, then you’d want to eat orange and yellow fruits and vegetables as they contain nutrients that maintain your nervous system health, eye health and fight against heart diseases. Their alternate health benefit is that they help give you healthy skin, boost your immune system and help build strong bones.
Orange and Yellow Vegetables:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet potato
- Yellow pepper
- Yellow tomatoes
Orange and Yellow Fruits:
- Yellow apples
- Papaya, pears
Green Fruits and Vegetables
When you eat your greens (including fruits) you help maintain your eye health and prevent them from developing macular degeneration due to aging. They also contain precious folic acid which is good for pregnant women, because it helps make a healthy baby. Another excellent benefit these foods have is that they help fight cancer, removes bad cholesterol, improve your digestive health as well as your immune system.
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
- Green pepper
- Green apples
- Green grapes
White Fruits and Vegetables
The phytochemicals in white-colored fruits and vegetables have been proven to lower bad cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure. Aside from this they also boost your immune system and reduce the risk of developing colon cancer, breast cancer as well as prostate cancer in men.
- White nectarines
- White peaches