Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Eat Right With Color

Eat Right With Color



     March is National Nutrition Month! By clicking on the link above, you can further your knowledge with nutrition information from a highly reputable source.
     Consuming a diet that is colorful and variable, we are sure to get all the nutrients needed in order to maintain a healthy body. Different colors mean different nutrients. Individuals who eat more generous amounts of fruits and vegetables are likely to have a reduced risk of chronic diseases.



     Ready for Red? Red fruits and vegetables are colored by natural pigments, a phytochemical called lycopene and anthocyanins. Lycopene is the most common carotenoid in the human body and is one of the most potent carotenoid antioxidants. Carotenoids are the red, orange and yellow coloring substances in plants and animals. Lycopnene can be found in tomatoes, watermelon, and red grapefruit. Lycopene may help in reducing the risks of certain types of cancers, including prostate cancer.
Anthocyanins in strawberries, raspberries, red grapes and other fruits and vegetables act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage, reduce inflammation, and help maintain heart health.


     Optimistic Orange and Yes to Yellow!  Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are usually colored by pigaments called carotenoids. Studies show that carotenoid-rich foods can help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease, and can improve immune system function. Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, a B vitamin that helps reduce risk of birth defects.

     Glorious Green fruits and vegetables are colored by a natural pigment called chlorophyll. Certain green vegetables also contain lutein, such as spinach and other dark leafy vegetables, also high in folate, green peppers, peas, cucumbers, and celery. Lutein works in conjunction with zeaxanthin, found in corn, red peppers, grapes, oranges, and egg yolks to keep our eyes healthy and may help reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which results in the loss of central vision.


     Down for Blue and Purple fruits and vegetables, similar to red fruits and vegetables, contain the natural pigament anthocyanin. Anthocyanin act as powerful antioxidants that protects cells from damage and may also help reduce risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. Some studies have concluded they help in memory function and healthy aging as well.


     Win with White fruits and vegetables. Some of you know my thoughts on cholesterol and its contribution to the "Silent Killer". White fruits and vegetables contain the natural pigament called anthoxanthin. They may also contain a beneficial chemical, allicin, that may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Remember, high cholesterol is rarely high due to consuming dietary cholesterol, it is usually a result of an increased intake of trans fats and saturated fats.

     Moral of this blog is to educate and inform individuals on the importance of eating a variety of healthy foods. If we lack variety, we lack nutrients. If you are in need of more detailed information or meal plans, contact a Registered Dietician, such as Angelique Marquez or Megan Mullin.



Here are a few colorful healthy recipes to guide us all on our path of living a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy!

Colorful Corn 'n' Bean Salad

 Colorful Corn 'n' Bean Salad
This quick recipe couldn’t be easier…the liquid from the corn relish makes the fuss-free dressing! And because there’s no mayo, it’s a perfect salad to bring along on summer outings.—TerryAnn Moore, Vineland, New Jersey
12 ServingsPrep/Total Time: 15 min.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jar (13 ounces) corn relish
  • 1/2 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet orange pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until
  • serving. Yield: 12 servings.
Nutrition Facts: 1/2 cup equals 80 calories, 1 g fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 217 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchange: 1 starch.
Click here to find out more!

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