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Eat the Rainbow for Good Health

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As March comes roaring in, let’s look at winter’s glorious choices of fruits and vegetables and plan to E.A.T. R.I.G.H.T.!

Eat the rainbow! Not only do foods of varying colors pack a wealth of nutrition, they also look ever so enticing on the plate!
• Red fruits (think cranberries, grapes) and vegetables (think beets, red peppers, tomatoes) are high in the anti-oxidants which help fight heart disease, cancer and age-related memory loss.
• Orange and yellow fruits such as citrus and vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, carrots) are high in beta-carotene for healthy skin and eyes, Vitamins A and C and anti-oxidants.

• Green leafy vegetables (think kale, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) – the darker the green the better – broccoli, bok choy, avocados, and snow peas. They are high in fiber and most are rich in folic acid, vitamins A, C and K and potassium.
• Blue and purple fruits (grapes, raisins) and vegetables (purple cabbage, blue potatoes, black beans) are high in fiber, anti-oxidants and many important trace elements.
• White and tan fruits (pears, dates) and vegetables (garlic, ginger, mushrooms, shallots, onions, turnips) add spice, phytochemicals and anti-oxidants to any meal. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins C, K, and folate, and is one of the cruciferous vegetables that reduce the risk of many cancers.
• Brown grains, seeds, legumes (beans, lentils, split peas) and nuts are high in fiber, zinc, iron, folic acid, minerals, healthy fats and B-vitamins.
Avoid processed foods. Take advantage of your time at home to multi-task by making your own soups and stocks and steaming some fresh vegetables while you prepare the main course (note that micro-waving removes many valuable vitamins). Cook larger portions than you need and freeze the extras in individual portions to reheat for lunch or to thaw quickly when you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table.

Take a list with you when you shop – with a mind to whole meals containing those fresh fruits and vegetables of varying colors as well as whole grains.

Read package labels carefully.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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