Here is why “eating the rainbow” is a brilliant idea, especially for women

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eating-the-rainbow(NaturalHealth365)  Doctors have long advised their patients to eat a balanced diet comprised of fresh, whole foods – the more colorful, the better.  Eating fruits and vegetables in various colors provides the most nutritious punch, which benefits your health and your waistline.

A recent report in Nutritional Neuroscience explored a large body of existing literature on diet and nutrition on women’s health outcomes and has uncovered a powerful weapon against several health issues, including obesity and obesity-related conditions – carotenoids.

Bright-colored fruits and vegetables contain powerful compounds with antioxidant properties

Carotenoids are compounds in certain fruits and vegetables responsible for their bright colors – the reason that carrots are orange (or purple or yellow), why bell peppers are green, yellow, orange, and red, green peas are green, and watermelon is red.

This compound is a powerful antioxidant that is lipid soluble – which means it dissolves in fat.  Carotenoids are also a precursor to vitamin A.

The most common carotenoids present in the American diet are:

  • Provitamin A carotenoids
    • A-carotene (alpha-carotene)
    • β-carotene (beta-carotene)
    • β-cryptoxanthin (beta-cryptoxanthin)
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Zeaxanthin

Provitamin A carotenoids, the first three on the list, are a type of vitamin A.  The body converts them into retinol which is a form of vitamin A that is vital for cell health, a strong immune system, vision, and skin health.

Carotenoids offer so many health benefits

Consuming a diet rich in carotenoids will help you in various ways, but three of the best-known benefits include better eye health, improved brain health, and healthy bones.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are effective defenses against age-related macular degeneration.  They can also help to prevent cataracts.

The brain also gets tremendous benefits from a “rainbow” diet.  Eating these foods can help improve brain function, such as visual processing speed, problem-solving, executive function, and memory.

Strong evidence supports the added benefits that women get from a diet rich in carotenoids.  The zeaxanthin and lutein in carotenoids are very effective in helping the body fight against conditions that impact the nervous system health of women.

How to “Eat the Rainbow”

You can reap the numerous benefit of “eating the rainbow” by choosing carotenoid-rich foods in each color group.  Some of the heaviest hitters in each color group include:

  • Orange (A-carotene)
    • Butternut squash
    • Carrots
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Tangerines
  • Yellow-Orange (β-carotene)
    • Cantaloupe
    • Winter squash
    • Oranges
    • Papayas
    • Peaches
    • Tangerines
  • Red (Lycopene)
    • Pink Grapefruit
    • Pink Guava
    • Pumpkin
    • Tomatoes
    • Watermelon
  • Green (Lutein and Zeaxanthin)
    • Asparagus
    • Brussels Sprouts
    • Green Peas
    • Kale
    • Parsley
    • Swiss Chard

Incorporating carotenoid-rich foods into your daily diet will benefit you no matter your age, but they significantly impact age-related issues and health conditions.  Plus, it makes for such a colorful, pretty plate!  So, go ahead and bring some color to your mealtimes.

To make things even healthier, buy organic varieties of your favorite vegetables and fruit, to avoid unwanted chemicals.

Your body will thank you for the effort.

Sources for this article include:

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