Eating a Rainbow for Your Health

Farmers Market | Queen of Quinoa | Balanced Platter

Now that we are fully immersed in the summer heat, we are constantly surrounded by a plethora of fresh fruits and veggies. Our farmer’s markets are bursting with beautiful produce, each stand just as colorful as the next. It’s like tangible rainbow in front of your eyes. Simply magnificent!

With all that color, how can you not be inspired to eat it all up and incorporate as much into one plate as possible? Maybe it’s just me, but the more colorful and visually interesting the plate of food in front of me, the more I enjoy it. Not only just taste, but it also just makes me happier while I’m eating it. Color can have that effect on people.

But what is the health benefit of eating all these colorful foods? Just because they’re colorful, does it really mean they’re healthier? YES!

To help understand how important it is to add color to your diet, we’re going to take a tour of the food rainbow. Remember back in elementary school – R-O-Y-G-B-I-V? We’re going to play that game again, but with food {and I’ll tell what produce to keep an eye out for while you’re shopping}!!

Farmers Market | Queen of Quinoa | Balanced Platter

Red Foods
Besides their beautiful color, red foods are very high in lycopene which can help reduce the risk of cancers like prostate, lung, stomach and breast. Red foods are also typically very high in antioxidants, which have also been found to help prevent cancer and other diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Watermelon


Orange Foods
Best-known for their very high levels of beta carotene, which is great for eye health (remember what your mom told you when you were little about carrots?), orange foods have a world of other health benefits too. They are also high in vitamin A and C which are both critical for immune health.

Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Cantelope
  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkins & other winter squashes
  • Tropical fruits: oranges, tangerines, mangoes, kumquats



Yellow Foods
The beauty of the color yellow is the feeling it gives us when we look at it. It boosts our mood and makes us happy. And similar to our orange friends, yellow produce is packed with vitamin C, which we know helps keep the immune system in tip-top shape.

Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Sweet corn
  • Summer Squash
  • Watermelon
  • Yellow beans
  • Peaches & Nectarines


Green Foods
Green is king, queen, prince and princess of the food kingdom. They are the healthiest and one of the most nutrient rich foods we can eat. Most notably, green fruits and veggies are high in fiber which can be an important factor in maintaining a healthy weight and helps keep you fuller longer. Green foods are also high invitamins A, C and E, all which are essential daily vitamins. Some green vegetables also contain protein which make them perfect for vegetarians and vegans (as well as animal lovers too). Overall, my view is you can’t get enough greens in your diet. I try to eat something green at every single meal, including breakfast!

Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Leafy greens: kale, lettuce, spinach, collards, swiss chard, beet greens
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Peas: sugar snap, shelling, snow
  • Herbs: basil, thyme, cilantro, oregano, dill, marjoram, etc.
  • Honeydew Melon


Blue Foods
There aren’t many naturally occurring blue foods (some span the blue/purple realm), but blueberries are a standout star. They have more antioxidants than any other food, plus they are packed with fiber and vitamin C. Blueberries are also low in calories so they’re the perfect summer snack.

Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Blueberries

 

Purple Foods
Purple foods are nutrient super stars. To start, they’re rich in antioxidants. But they also help to prevent premature aging, reduce the risk of cancer and help improve your memory. Plus they’re good for you heart (they’re packed with flavonoids). Not to mention they’re pretty to look at.

Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Eggplant
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Figs
  • Plums
  • Cabbage

Okay, so now that you know all the amazing health benefits that colorful foods have, aren’t you just dying to make a rainbow on a plate? To give you some inspiration, I’ve pulled some delicious (clearly colorful) recipes from a few of my favorite gluten-free bloggers:

Salads & Sides
Yellow Watermelon Berry Salad from The Healthy Apple
Grilled Peach Salsa from Queen of Quinoa
Fully Loaded Kale Salad from Diet, Desserts and Dogs 

Main Dishes
Melon Mojito Fish Tacos from Cara’s Cravings
Garden Pasta Salad from Daily Bites

Dessert
Kiwi Apricot and Mango Pops from The Spunky Coconut
Berry Tart with Vanilla Bean Custard {dairy-free} from Against All Grain 

 

What’s your favorite color food?

 

*****

Alyssa Rimmer | Gluten-Free & Quinoa Recipes | Queen of Quinoa

Alyssa Rimmer is the quinoa-obsessed girl behind the gluten-free blog Queen of Quinoa. Alyssa loves experimenting with nutritious and whole-food ingredients and seeks to encourage the everyday home chef that cooking and eating gluten free can not only be healthy, but also delicious and fun. Through her unique  recipes, you will find the beauty of gluten-free cooking and will see how amazing the world of quinoa can truly be.

 

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