Put a rain­bow on your plate

Put a rain­bow on your plate for a healthy diet

Santa Fe New Mexican - Healthy Living - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­tri­cia West-Barker

Taste buds, those tiny or­gans on the sur­face of your tongue, tell you which of the five ba­sic tastes — sweet, salty, sour, bit­ter or umami — you’ve just popped into your mouth. But even be­fore that morsel hits the taste buds, your eyes are send­ing vis­ual cues that in­flu­ence the way you re­spond to that fla­vor.

Color is one way we judge the way some­thing tastes, and color in na­ture sig­nals what type of health-en­hanc­ing nu­tri­ents a food con­tains. Brightly colored veg­eta­bles and fruits are rich in dif­fer­ent phy­to­chem­i­cals — sub­stances that may help re­duce the num­ber of cell-dam­ag­ing free rad­i­cals cir­cu­lat­ing in our bod­ies.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Cen­ter for Com­ple­men­tary and In­te­gra­tive Health, sup­ple­ments con­tain­ing high doses of sin­gle phy­to­chem­i­cals have not been shown to re­duce the risks of heart dis­ease, can­cer, cataracts or other chronic dis­eases.

While no one knows what the ideal mix­ture of colors is, eat­ing across the rain­bow is the best way to guar­an­tee a bal­anced diet rich in the full spec­trum of es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents.

Red Although toma­toes (es­pe­cially in the form of cooked sauces) are the poster child for ly­copene, wa­ter­melon, red and pink grapefruit, straw­ber­ries, cher­ries, rasp­ber­ries, guava, beets, red cab­bage, red onions and red pep­pers are also rich in this...

Yel­low Green Lutein, which is im­por­tant to eye health, is found in abun­dance in av­o­ca­dos, kiwi, pis­ta­chios, ar­ti­chokes, green beans, green pep­pers, sum­mer squash and all types of leafy greens such as spinach, arugula, chard, col­lards and mus­tard and...

Blue/Pur­ple Blue­ber­ries, egg­plant, black­ber­ries, plums, pur­ple cab­bage and pomegranates are rich in an­tho­cyanins and flavi­nols that may help pre­vent heart dis­ease and lower the risk of some can­cers.

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