According to the American Dietetic Association, March is National Nutrition Month and this year the theme is Eat Right with Color.  “Eating a rainbow” each day is a great approach because different colors represent different nutrients and eating across the spectrum will ensure we get a wide range of nutritional benefits. Here is a key to all that you could be giving your body by ingesting ROYGBIV:

Red fruits and vegetables like beets, red peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, cherries, blood oranges, strawberries, and pomegranates:

These foods contain lycopene and other carotenoids that fight cancers (especially prostate cancer), reduce tumor growth, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol to improve heart health.

Orange and Yellow fruits and vegetables like apricots, cantaloupes, carrots, lemons, peaches, persimmons, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and yellow + orange peppers:

Eat these if you’d like some beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and other flavonoids that will support eye health, promote healthy skin, and fight free radicals that age the body.

Green fruits and vegetables like asparagus, avocado, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, kiwi, leafy greens, limes, and peas: Chlorophyll, lutein, calcium, and a host of phytonutrients make green foods some of nature’s heaviest hitters for good health. Expect reduced cancer risk, a healthier heart, a stronger immune system, efficient digestion, and sharp eyesight when you eat plenty of greens.

Blue and Purple fruits and vegetables like blackberries, grapes, eggplant, blueberries, plums, purple potatoes, purple cabbage, figs, prunes, and raisins:

Resveratrol, zeaxanthin, anthocyanin, vitamin C and other nutrients found in the blue and purple range of foods are powerfighters against cancer and the effects of aging. These foods are also protective of our hearts, eyes, and immune system and will fight inflammation and improve absorption of minerals.

Even white fruits and vegetables like cauliflower, bananas, garlic, ginger, jicama, onions, parsnips, and turnips:

Quercetin, beta-glucans, and lignans are some of the supernutrients found in these white foods (notice that flour and sugar don’t make the list) which boost our immune systems, help balance our hormones, and fight cancer.

So try to get a wide range of fruits and vegetables every day-remember the “strive for five” campaign? It’s a great place to start. But when it comes to vegetables, especially, more is more.

– Written by Christina Rutheiser, CNHP (Towson)