Colorful Eating

Learn how to become a better eater with help from Ellie Krieger.

Many of the best foods are not only delicious, they also look great. Color plays a major role in making foods — luscious red strawberries, bright yellow mango, fresh green herbs and lettuces — attractive to the eye. The good news is eating a rainbow of foods each day is not only enticing and delicious — it also helps keep us healthy. That's because each different color group has its own unique set of health properties. In fact, different antioxidants (nutrients that neutralize toxins in our bodies) actually impart a hue to foods. Beta-carotene gives carrots and mangos their orange/yellow color and anthocyanins make strawberries red and blueberries blue. Luckily there's no need to remember all the mind-numbing names of these compounds. All you need to do each day is eat the rainbow. Then you are sure to get the full spectrum of nutrients.

  • Red: strawberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, red apples, watermelon, pomegranates, red peppers, tomatoes, radicchio, red cabbage, beets, radishes

  • Orange/yellow: apricots, mango, cantaloupe, grapefruit, papaya, peaches, oranges, pineapples, lemons, tangerines, pumpkin, yellow pepper, carrots, winter squash, yellow summer squash, carrots

  • Green: honeydew melon, green grapes, kiwi, limes, pears, avocado, asparagus, arugula, artichokes, broccoli, kale, collard greens, broccoli rabe, green peppers, green beans, lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, zucchini, green cabbage, herbs

  • Blue/purple: blackberries, blueberries, plums, grapes, eggplant, purple potatoes

  • White: bananas, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, onions, ginger, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, turnips