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Sharp Health News

Eat the rainbow (infographic)

Feb. 21, 2018

Leer en español

Need an excuse to shake up your humdrum salad routine? Here's one: variety is good for you. And the best way to get variety is by eating a colorful range of produce.

Fruits and vegetables get their bold pigments from phytochemicals — micronutrients that occur naturally in plants. Lindsay Yau, a registered dietitian and wellness education specialist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers, shares her tips on how to eat the rainbow.

Eat the rainbow infographic. A rainbow of produce - it's not just a pretty plate. While eating at least eight servings of fruits and veggies a day is vital for health, learn why variety matters, too. Keep it colorful. Fruits and vegetables get their bold pigments from phytochemicals - micronutrients that occur naturally in plants. Consumed as part of a balanced diet, they are thought to: Help maintain a healthy weight. Boost your immune system. Protect against heart disease. Reduce Type 2 diabetes risk. Protect against some cancers. Lower your stroke risk. Healthy hues. To get variety in the plant foods you eat, nutritionists typically suggest grouping them into the following color categories. Red/Pink. Examples: Watermelons, red peppers, tomatoes, grapefruits. Phytochemical: Lycopene. Benefit: Helps decrease cell damage from free radicals, reducing cancer risk. Orange/Yellow. Examples: Oranges, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow peppers. Phytochemical: Beta-carotene. Benefit: Converts to vitamin A, which is essential for eye health and immunity. Green. Examples: Green grapes, kiwis, honeydew melons, spinach, broccoli, kale. Phytochemical: Chlorophyll. Benefit: Has been shown to decrease the development of liver cancer. Blue/Purple. Examples: Blueberries, purple grapes, purple cabbage, figs, beets, eggplants. Phytochemical: Anthocyanin. Benefit: May protect against heart disease and limit or reduce age-related memory deterioration. White. Examples: Bananas, brown pears, mushrooms, cauliflower, parsnips, onions. Phytochemical: Flavonoids. Benefit: May decrease the risk of chronic diseases and help control blood sugars in those with or at risk of diabetes. From the expert.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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