I have a friend whose wife likes to complain that he only eats brown food. She is pretty much right. He likes overcooked meat, potatoes with gravy, and basically bland and well done food. His Thanksgiving dinner plate was 100% brown for example!
He never (as far as I can tell) ever eats anything green like lettuce or asparagus or red like radishes or peppers (or rare beef) of yellow or – you get the idea. He also is pretty unhealthy, including horribly overweight, despite once having been quite athletic.
As silly as it may sound, eating a healthy diet that consists of multiple colored foods gives you a wide range of nutrients and vitamins, and generally plenty of fiber as well. Of course to include lots of colors, you will typically have lots of vegetables and perhaps fruits as well.
As Dr Michelle Hauser at Harvard Medical School says, “Eat all the colors of the rainbow. These colors signal the presence of diverse phytochemicals and phytonutrients,” beneficial substances in plants. They also contain lots of nutrients and vitamins.
It’s easy to have many colors in your diet. For example, Dave Ruel‘s cookbook contains foods with lots of color variation.Let’s see, today, just in the vegetable area, I had the following today (listing the main vitamins and minerals):
- Green – spinach (antioxidants and vitamin K)
- Orange – carrots (vitamin A and beta carotene)
- Red – red peppers (lots of vitamin C and fiber), tomatoes (antioxidant lycopene)
- Yellow – yellow peppers (vitamin C and A and carotenoids)
Just a few more green options include lettuce, broccoli, avocados, cabbage, cucumbers, Brussel sprouts, green onions, green peppers, peas, asparagus, and artichokes.
For orange, of course we have oranges and tangerines and their cousins, peaches, apricots, papayas, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and many more.
For red, cherries, beets, red grapes, red onions, radishes, rhubarb, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, kidney beans, red potatoes, watermelon, and more.
Yellow includes pineapples, summer squash, bananas, corn, lemons, yellow variants of many foods like yellow tomatoes, yellow watermelon, yellow beets.
Black Purple/Black include blueberries, eggplant, plums, blackberries, raisins, purple grapes, purple potatoes and purple carrots, kale, and turnips. I’ve been eating lots of purple carrots that have suddenly become popular lately.
White is often associated with processed foods like white rice, rise bread, and more but there are plenty of “natural” and garlic, onions, parsnips, leeks, napa cabbage, cauliflower, white eggplants,
Although it is silly to say that eating colorful foods alone is a healthy and balanced diet, it helps a lot to add vitamins, minerals, fiber, and many other beneficial substances to your diet, especially when your diet (just like everyone else’s) is less than perfect!