Archives for the day Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

People food for thought Part XXV;Color of vegetables/fruits and health benefit

 Back home in Japan,our dinner always started by us kids setting up the table and mother plating up 3-4 different kinds of side dish and we kids go get bowls filled with steamy hot rice for everyone to set them up on the table.

 When I was a little, I did not get just a small bowl of rice in front of us so I can reach for side dishes mother prepared, but we small kids had kids’ plate and mother has plated up little bit of everything with bowl of rice so she can make sure we eat everything at least small bites.

 When I was a kid,I had dislikes and likes and, I whined I do not want to eat it,but our mother is strong and she said “One bite” or she says “eat number of your age,at least”.

 If we go to my grandparents’ house,there was no kids’ plate,but I find stuff delivered over my bowl of rice by my grandmother.

 She goes “Oh, Nori (seaweed) makes your hair rich in color and make them healthy.”, then she brings another stuff to my plate and says “Oh, carrots are good for your eyes.You have to eat it.”.

 Then, here comes small fish piece and she goes ” It is good calcium and good for bones, and you have to eat it.”.

 It was kind of privilege to be seated right next to her

 When we go to grocery store, my mother explained that darker leafy vegetable are very good for health etc.. and, told us kids what is good for what for health wise and, I think our food plate was very colorful as opposed to the plate dominated by color “brown”.

 We also had fresh fruits to go with meal everyday, and we had fresh salad as well.

 Overall, meal there was very colorful and good amount of fresh/raw produce with some meat. Meat was never be the star of the plate.

 Recently, I came across a news article about filling up your plate with variety of colors and its health benefit.

 When I read that, it reminded me of our family back home in Japan. I thought it was interesting article to share with you.

Health benefit of filling your plate with rainbow color..

 According to the article written by Mary Squillace, registered dietitian Vandana Sheth for academy of nutrition and dietetics has mentioned that we get different nutrients from different foods and eating variety of foods in different colors is easiest ways to ensure we are getting full range of nutrients.

 I think it is true that each food provides different set of nutrients with different level of nutrient.So, it makes sense that eating variety of foods can boost your health, and especially with vegetables, since vegetable’s color can be determined by specific nutrient in them, it makes sense to eat variety of color of vegetables.

 For example, Carrots’
orange skin color is from beta carotene with some alpha carotene,which
converts to Vitamin A (good for skin and vision in dim light) in the

 Then, purple
carrots, red cabbage, red wine, purple color of the purple potato and blueberry are caused by presence of antioxidants (anthocyanin).

 Registered dietitian Vandana Sheth explains 10 colors of vegetable and health benefit in Mary’s article.


 According to Vandana, crimson tint indicate that the fruits or vegetables are good for heart,boosting vision and immunity plus cutting down on cancer risks.

 For example, beets hue comes from betacyanins,a substance linked to fighting cancer, and nitrate in beets may lower your blood pressure and can halt dementia by improving blood flow to the brain.

 Cherry is another good food. According to USDA study, Ruby sphere in bing cherry is packful of antioxidant and good for lowering arthritis risk,heart disease and cancer by fighting with inflammation.

 Interesting thing in the article is that it says that 2010 study in London found that drinking cherry juice helps you sleep better due to high melatonin content,and it also helps to reduce muscle damage in athletes.

 Tomatoes rosey components is from lycopene,a phytochemicals that helps protect against prostate cancer.

 One thing that is unique about tomato is that, cooking increase their lycopene content,and cooking is actually better for tomatoes.


 Orange skin on vegetables comes from beta carotene in the vegetable/fruits. Beta carotene is powerful antioxidant that is converted into Vitamin A in our bodies.
It is also good for vision.

 Sweet potato contains very high amount of beta carotene (Vitamin A ), and they are blood pressure friendly,and contains potassium, good amount of Vitamin C to boost immune system,and fiber.

 Yellow color fruits like pineapple is rich in Vitamin C,and it delivers enzyme called “bromelain” to help you with indigestion and it also reduce inflammation and may prevent heart disease.


 According to research done in 2011 published in Cell, Emerald color in the vegetables such as broccoli,bok choy (cruciferous family vegetables) will help you support immune system.

 Protein in those vegetables helps immune cells that line and protect the gut and the skin function properly.

 With green color vegetables, darker the color is, the better nutrient you will get.

 Kale,spinach,collard green etc are good choice.


 Blue/purple color food contains anthocyanins (phytonutrient known to be a super food).

 Blue/purple color vegetables/fruits help you to decrease the risk of macular degeneration and prevent certain cancer and strokes.

 2012 study published in the American Journal of clinical nutrition,purple/blue foods such as blueberries are also good for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.


 According to Dutch study, fruits with white fresh such as banana,apples,pears, cauliflowers may prevent strokes.

 Banana has high concentration of B6 and potassium,and help you to boost your mood and good for heart.

 You can read full article written by Mary Squillace at Life extension daily news website here.

 What color do you see on your food plate today?

May 08, 2012 | 0 | Uncategorized