10 A Day The EZ Way
By eating a variety of colorful fruit and vegetables – red, yellow-orange, green, blue-purple and white – you are giving your body a wide range of essential nutrients. Each color group offers unique vitamins, minerals, and disease fighting phytonutrients that work together with fiber to protect your health. Only fruit and vegetables, not pills or supplements can give you these nutrients in the healthy combination’s nature intended.
Eat 10 a day the EZ way to help protect against the wear and tear of aging and lower your risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
The red group contains items that help you maintain a healthy heart, improve your memory and help you maintain your urinary tract healthy. Red items are full of healthy vitamin C, lycopene, and anthocyanins. Red foods include beets, cranberries, red peppers, radishes, tomatoes, cherries, strawberries, apples, red onions, kidney and red beans.
Yellow-orange foods help protect your heart, contribute to vision health, and help your immune system. These foods are rich in alpha and beta carotene, bioflavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Yellow-orange foods include carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, pumpkin, butternut squash, cantaloupe, mangoes, papaya, apricots, nectarines, pineapple, yellow or orange peppers, tangerines, peaches, papaya, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons.
Green foods contribute to vision health, skin health, are tumor suppressing, and help you to have strong bones and teeth. Green fruits and vegetables are rich in sulforaphane, lutein, zeaxanthin, indoles, vitamin K, and potassium. Green foods include turnip, collard, and mustard greens, kale, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, celery, green peas, cabbage, Brussels’ Sprouts, bok choy, watercress, endive, kiwi, green apples, and honeydew melon.
Blue-Purple foods help with urinary tract health, vision health, memory function and healthy aging. These foods are sources of anthocyanins, phenolics, and vitamin C. Blue and purple foods include blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, black currants, elderberries, plums and prunes, raisins, red cabbage, purple potatoes, purple carrots and eggplant.
White fruit and vegetables are important for maintaining your heart health by lowering cholesterol and for modulating immunity to keep you resilient against infections. These foods are rich in allicins which have cancer and tumor suppressing benefits. White foods include onions, leeks, scallions, chives, garlic, mushrooms, cauliflower, jicama, parsnips, turnips, russet potatoes, bananas, dates, white nectarines, white peaches, and brown pears.
10 a day will provide 30-50 grams of fiber which has been proven to reduce disease risks. Make it easy on yourself, keep raw veggies on hand (slices and sticks ready to grab), take advantage of prewashed and bagged salads and sliced mushrooms, sneak vegetables into every meal, and start each meal with your salad and/or vegetable course.
Variety ensures you have all the different vitamins, minerals, and disease fighting phytonutrients you need. I challenge you to eat 21 different vegetables a week!
Erin Williams, MSN CN LMP, is the founder of EZBalance.com, a health and wellness company established in 2001. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Purdue, a master’s degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, and is currently studying to become a Functional Medicine Practitioner. Erin enjoys sharing her love of natural health and wellness with people through lectures, blogs, and consultations.