What Does ‘Eat a Rainbow’ Really Mean?

what does eat a rainbow mean
Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena, MD

In her day job, treating patients living with chronic disease, nutrition and lifestyle are not after-thoughts, they’re central to helping her patients get well. She’s also our go-to expert on plant-based diets.

Are you eating a rainbow every day? Wondering why it’s a good idea?

We’ve been hearing for years that we need to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but not all fruits and vegetables are created equal. Yes, they are all good for us, but depending on the plant family they come from, and their color, they differ in the nutrient-punch they pack.

“Eating a Rainbow” Examples

Green vegetables promote bone health, because they contain significant amounts of calcium. Bok choy, broccoli, and leafy greens are all bursting with this bone building mineral.

Red vegetables and fruits contain lycopene, which helps protect us from the UV rays of the sun—a natural sunscreen!

What about the yellow and orange foods? Among other phytonutrients, they contain carotenes which help protect our eye sight.

The purple fruits and vegetables help protect our DNA from damage, keeping us younger, longer.

And then there are the white fruits and veggies (we couldn’t get the color to show for that word), which help support a healthy immune system; some even contain natural antibiotics to fight off infection.

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface here, but the bottom line is that each color group helps support different aspects of our overall health—not to mention the fact that they make our dinner plate a beautiful masterpiece— so the more diverse you make your meals the better. Bon appetit!


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