Five a Day Way

By Stett Holbrook

September is national Five a Day month, a public health project aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in the United States to five servings a day for 75 percent of Americans by 2010. As you do your part, think about the color of what you eat.

Blue and Purple: Blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of health-promoting phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and phenolics, currently being studied for their antioxidant and antiaging benefits. Blue and purple foods include blackberries, blueberries, purple figs and purple asparagus.

Green: Green vegetables contain varying amounts of phytochemicals such as lutein and indoles, which interest researchers because of their potential antioxidant benefits. Include green foods in a low-fat diet to maintain strong bones and teeth and lower the risk of some cancers. Green foods include green apples, kiwi fruit, broccoli and peas.

Yellow and Orange: Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids. This food group includes cantaloupe, mangos, nectarines, papayas, butternut squash and carrots.

Red: Red-hued fruits and vegetables are being studied for health benefits such as memory function, a lower risk of some cancers and a healthy urinary tract. Red foods include red apples, cranberries, red onions, rhubarb, strawberries and tomatoes.

White: White, tan and brown fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of phytochemicals such as allicin, found in the garlic and onion family. The mineral selenium, found in mushrooms, is also beneficial. White foods help promote a healthy heart and lower cancer risk. White foods include bananas, white peaches, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms and onions.

From the September 7-13, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

© 2005 Metro Publishing Inc.

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