COLOUR ME HEALTHY
By Nancy Comstock
Summer is here, and with the warm weather comes an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Ripe strawberries, crisp green beans, juicy tomatoes, garden-fresh greens, and luscious peaches will soon be available at local stores and markets.
While most of us look forward to summer’s fresher produce, what you may not realize is that the vivid colours of fresh fruits and vegetables actually offer clues as to which ones are richest in vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
As you “strive for five” servings of fruits and vegetables every day, take a moment to think about the colours of what you’re eating. Generally, the darker the colour the more nutritious the produce.
For example, red delicious apples are higher in antioxidants than yellow delicious apples, and dark-green romaine lettuce contains up to 10 times more of some nutrients than pale iceberg lettuce. The dark, rich colour of blueberries tells us that they’re packed with antioxidants and other nutrients we need every day. When you choose produce, always go with the deeper colours.
With that in mind, you can ramp up the nutrition in every meal by simply adding colours. The more colours you add, the more beautifully nutritious your meal will be. A dinner plate full of fresh green beans, sliced tomatoes, and yellow squash is bursting with nourishment—much more than a bland, beige meat-and-potatoes meal. Add a fresh orange and a handful of blueberries to your breakfast of cereal or toast. Snacks? Brightly coloured fruits and raw veggies provide the best food without a lot of calories or fat. The more colours you include, the more nutrients you consume. When your meal looks appetizing, it tastes better, too. Try adding a cup of frozen mixed vegetables to your pasta salad to ramp up eye appeal, as well as flavour and nutrition. Chopped red bell pepper livens up mashed cauliflower, and leftover carrots and peas look—and taste—wonderful mixed in with boiled or fried potatoes. Use your imagination!
And, when you visit the produce aisle or the market, just choose a variety of colours and you’ll be sure you’re getting all the nutrients Mother Nature has to offer.