Eating From The Rainbow

Fresh.  Local.  Healthy.

Summer is the perfect time to “eat from the rainbow”, literally.  So, what does that mean and why is it important?  The phrase “eat from the rainbow” was coined as a reminder to eat a variety fresh fruits and vegetables to promote better health.  The vibrant color of fresh produce is derived from the phytochemicals that the produce contains.  Phytochemicals occur naturally only in plants.  Research has suggested that these substances may provide healthy benefits beyond those that essential nutrients provide.  Phytochemicals are thought to work together with vitamins, minerals and fiber to promote good health and lower disease risk.  The key is to eat as much variety as you can of what is fresh and “in-season”.  Keep this “Summer Rainbow” list handy and utilize it to boost your health benefits.

Color Group


Health Benefits


blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries

may support heart health and blood pressure control, lower cancer risk


broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts

may lower cancer risk; especially colon and bladder


Spinach, zucchini

may protect against age-related macular eye degeneration


tomatoes, red sweet peppers, watermelon

may lower cancer risk; especially prostate, protect against heart attacks


canteloupe, carrots, nectarines, peaches

promotes healthy vision, immune function, and skin and bone health

So now you know what fruits and vegetables to eat over the summer.  Here are some easy ways to incorporate them into your meals and snacks:

*Grill or roast your favorite vegetables with a light spritz of olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, onion powder and sea salt (Favorite oil spritzer: Misto)

*Stir-fry shredded brussel sprouts and cabbage.  Add leftovers to salads and wraps.

*add berries to oatmeal, non-fat Greek yogurt and/or salads for a flavor boost.

*add cubed watermelon to a spinach salad and pair it with feta cheese and balsamic vinegar.

*Spiralize zucchini and use it in place of spaghetti.  (Favorite spiralizer: Paderno Vegetable Spiralizer)

According to the latest research, it remains unclear what proportion of specific phytochemicals is the right balance for disease prevention.  However, we do know that phytochemicals, one the whole, are proven to be beneficial.  Variety is key with a balance of all of the colors.  Try to incorporate as many colors as you can in your grocery shopping and meal planning.  Not only is this a healthy way to plan, it is great for your waist line, too!  Have a colorful summer!

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