Skip to content

Color Matters: The Importance of Eating the Rainbow

I often get asked for my favorite health tip, which is definitely to enjoy a rainbow of colors from fruits and veggies over the week. The colors in produce are created by specific phytonutrients, which are the natural compounds protecting plants from environmental threats. These phytonutrients may be more powerful than any MVI supplement when it comes to prevention of chronic health issues.

Red produce like tomatoes, radishes, pomegranates, apples, and bell peppers can help protect against cancer, risk of diabetes, heart disease, and maintain healthy skin.

Orange and yellow items like carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges, nectarines, and butternut squash improve immune function, reduce risk of heart disease, and maintain healthy eyes.

Green fruits and veggies like avocado, grapes, green beans, and broccoli boost immune function, support liver detoxification processes, and support energy production.

Blue and purple produce like blueberries, eggplant, figs, and cabbage help to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, support mental health, decrease inflammation, and maintain healthy skin.

Colors we may not think of automatically, brown and white foods, like garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, and jicama, also protect against cancer, maintain strong bones, and improve heart health. To make it easier to get in the rainbow of colors weekly, or even daily, try dishes that call for a variety of fruits and veggies at one time:

-Stir fry up a colorful array of bell peppers (peppers come in green, yellow, red, orange, and purple!) to go along with chicken/beef/pork and grain like rice/farro/quinoa for a balanced meal.

-Enjoy a salad as the entrée or side to your meal. Combine greens with avocado, carrots, radishes, peppers, tomatoes, etc. for a beautiful array.

-Veggie based soups with potatoes, winter squashes, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms can help get in the white and brown colors too.

-Fruit salad easily combines colors of the rainbow. Try watermelon, grapes, pineapple, mango, strawberries, and blueberries.

Reach out to the nutrition department at Waverley Oaks for more support and ideas with colorful eating, email us today at!

Content submitted by Jessica Roy MS, RD, LDN