The Doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition – Thomas Edison, 1908

In honor of #NationalNutritionMonth and our recent focus on organic, local produce, this article addresses a visually stimulating way for healthy eating.  M.J. Neumann, author of the piece, addresses the antioxidant power and capacity of fruits and vegetables — specifically their color. “It is very important to eat every color of the rainbow because antioxidants and phytochemicals provide nutrients your body needs.”

What’s interesting about this piece is that most people don’t even realize that they end up eating the same vegetables week to week.  While some vegetables (even if they are the same) are better than none, it’s important to pay attention to variety also.  Dietitians encourage the variety of vitamins and minerals through dietary intake versus through supplements.  There are so many ways you could increase the quantity of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Popular ways include smoothies, soups and fresh green juice blends.

In conjunction with our seasonal focus, here are the fruits and vegetables that are popular during April:

Red – Rhubarb, Radish 

*Offers lycopene which  fights heart disease and lowers cholesterol

Red/Purple – Strawberries, Beets 

*The color pigment, anthocyanin, offers a great source of disease-fighting antioxidants

Orange – Oranges, Papaya

*Delivers carotenoid which lowers high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease

Orange/Yellow – Papayas, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Rutabagas, Turnips

*Delivers carotenoids which offers overall good health.

Yellow/Green- Green Peas, Avocado, Cauliflower, Cabbage

*Provides good sources of phytochemicals, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which prevent eye diseases including cataracts and macular degeneration

Green – Broccolli, Arugula, Cilantro, Rainbow Chard, Watercress, Leaf & Head Lettuce

*The micronutrients, potassium, folate, and vitamins C, A, and E, are important for overall good health

Green/White – Chives, Leeks 

* Provides flavonoids which are a strong class of antioxidants 

Hopefully, you’ll be able to find some of the produce at your local grocery store, on websites such as Fresh Direct, or at farmers’ markets near by.  By consuming seasonal organic produce, you not only obtain a variety of phytochemicals but also limit your exposure to pesticides.  As the author states, “When choosing to purchase the most nutritious fruits and vegetables follow this rule; fresh is best (especially seasonal foods), followed by frozen (which is picked at the peak of freshness) and last is canned. The process of commercial canning brings foods to very high temperatures which destroy many of the above mentioned beneficial chemicals. Canned vegetables usually contain high amounts of sodium added for flavor enhancement and as a preservative.”