You probably color coordinate your outfits, but do you also color coordinate your food?
Well, if you want to eat well, be fit and possibly even lose weight, you probably should.
You see, the colors of a food can tell you a lot – like what nutrients you’ll get from it, how it will benefit your body, and much, much more.
Being familiar with this color system, as well as taking it into account when you plan your meals and snacks, is a crucial part of living a healthy life.
Want to know how to color code your food? Let’s break it down now.
What Each Color Means
The food world (particularly naturally occurring foods like fruits and veggies) runs the gamut when it comes to color. You’ll find everything from red, green and yellow to brighter tones like blue, orange and even purple.
And each one offers something different for your body – a different set of nutrients, vitamins and benefits that can make you healthier and happier.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, pay attention to what colors you’re buying. Here’s what each one tells you:
- Blues, purples and dark reds – These foods are full of antioxidants – specifically anthocyanins and proanthocyanins. These promote heart health, and they boost cognitive function. They’ve even been shown to have certain anti-cancer properties in some people. Some great examples of these include blackberries, blueberries, plums, cranberries, grape, eggplant, radishes, raspberries and strawberries.
- Green – Green foods are some of the most important ones in your diet – particularly cruciferous ones. These contain indoles and isothiocyanates, which are compounds linked to cancer prevention and detoxification. They’re also a great source of fiber that can aid in your digestion and keep you fuller longer. Just a few examples of great green, cruciferous foods include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts.
- Yellow and green – Yellows and green foods (the leafy kind, not cruciferous ones), are high in beta carotene, which can improve overall bone health and boost your immune system. They also have lots of that are known to promote eye health and prevent macular degeneration (which often leads to blindness in older adults.) These foods are also full of antioxidants, which help flush out free radicals and protect your body’s cells from damage. Great examples of these foods include artichokes, lettuce, corn, summer squash, arugula, chard, mustard greens, turnip greens and collards.
- Orange – Like yellow and green foods, orange ones are also very high in beta carotene. In fact, it’s what gives them their distinct orange hue. After consumption, the body converts the beta carotene into vitamin A, a nutrient vital to skeletal, immune, heart and eye health. Orange foods also have lots of antioxidants, which can prevent cell damage and flush out harmful free radicals, as well as high levels of lutein – a nutrient that promotes eye health. A few examples of great orange foods to consume include cantaloupe, apricots, carrots, mango, papaya, pumpkin, oranges, sweet potatoes, tangerines and winter squash. Lemons, though technically yellow, also fall into this category.
- Red – Bright red foods contain a phytochemical called lycopene, a powerful nutrient that’s been known to fight off cancers – particularly those of the prostate and breast variety. Red foods also have lots of anthocyanins, which also have anti-cancer properties, and they’re also full of beta carotene, a nutrient known to reduce the chance of heart disease. Other benefits of red foods? They boost memory, increase urinary tract health and improve heart health and circulation. Some good options for red foods include grapefruit, tomatoes, red peppers, watermelon and guava.
- Black – Black foods are high in important nutrients, like calcium and iron. They’re also full of fiber, which can fill you up, stave off cravings and help keep your digestive system clean and clear. Good examples of these include black beans and kidney beans.
- White – White foods, though few and far between, come with loads of benefits, too. They can improve cholesterol levels, promote heart health and more. Some good examples? Garlic, white onions, pears and cauliflower.
While there’s no formula for which colors you should eat daily, the main goal should be to get a wide variety of colors in your diet. Each color represents a different set of vitamins and nutrients, and in order to be healthy, you need to get a good balance of each of these on a daily basis.
Getting the Right Colors in Your Diet
Do you pay attention to the colors of foods you eat? If not, it might be time to start doing so. Colors can give you insight into the nutrients you’re putting into your body, and they play a key role in getting healthy and losing weight. Have questions? Want to learn more? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!