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Fitness Tips

Eating by Color: A Diet that Works
By: Carly Young, Special to LifeScript

Dutch painters created beautiful still-lifes of cornucopias overflowing with all manner of vibrant, colorful fruits and vegetables. But the varied palette of the produce world can do much more than just provide an eye-catching centerpiece. Each color signifies the presence of a different carotenoid, a type of phytochemical. Each carotenoid brings its own unique benefits. We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, but here's a list of what the different colors mean for your health.

  • The color: Reds such as strawberries, red grapes, beets, and tomatoes.
    The payoff: Improves blood flow to the heart, protects against Alzheimer's disease.
  • The color: Whites like bananas, pears, onions, and mushrooms.
    The payoff: Helps maintain heart health and healthy cholesterol levels.
  • The color: Greens like kiwi, pears, broccoli, and peas.
    The payoff: Helps build strong bones and teeth and protects your vision.
  • The color: Yellows/Oranges like mangos, pineapple, carrots, and pumpkin.
    The payoff: Boosts your immune system and protects the health of your heart and eyes.
  • The color: Blues/Purples like figs, blueberries, eggplant, and cabbage.
    The payoff: Protects your memory and helps your urinary tract stay healthy.

Because each colorful carotenoid has something different to offer, vary the hue of the produce that you eat throughout the day to reap all of the benefits. Make a tropical desert with cubed mangos, sliced bananas and chopped kiwi, or fix up a salad with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms. Just use your eye as your guide: The more vibrant your meal, the better it is for you. So go ahead and eat a rainbow of fresh produce - you'll pass your nutritional test with flying colors!