The Colors of a Nutrient-Packed Diet

Colors equal nutrients, or more specifically, plant-based phytonutrients. The recommended intake of fruits and vegetables for adults is generally 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of adults actually reach this recommended amount. That’s why it’s more common for dietitians and nutritionists – myself included – to propose a goal of eating at least five colors a day. The visual cue of considering colors versus amounts makes it easier to track. It also ensures you are consuming a variety of micronutrients.

The color of a fruit or vegetable signals that it contains various vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant compounds). Research on these plant compounds has shown that they have high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. They may reduce toxic load from our environment.

Epidemiological studies have shown that high fruit and vegetable intake is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and premature mortality.(1) Newer research out of Australia has indicated that there may be a positive correlation between fruit and vegetable intake and psychological well-being.(2)

The “Colors”


HERE COMES THE SUN” SMOOTHIE

Smoothies are an easy way to “eat your colors” and this one packs a flavor and nutrient punch! It has good sources of vitamins B6 and C, fiber, magnesium, zinc, with good fats, no dairy, and low sugar. The turmeric adds extra anti-inflammatory properties.

INGREDIENTS

One cup frozen mango chunks

A handful spinach (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup shredded carrot

One Tablespoon hemp seeds

One Tablespoon flax meal

A teaspoon turmeric (optional)

One cup coconut water

  • Add a few cubes of ice to a high-power blender. (Smoothie tip: the colder, the better!)
  • Then add the other ingredients in the order listed with the frozen fruit and greens closest to the blade.
  • Afterwards, blend until it reaches the desired smooth consistency, adding filtered water if needed.

Footnotes:

  1. Dagfinn Aune, Edward Giovannucci, Paolo Boffetta, Lars T Fadnes, NaNa Keum, Teresa Norat, Darren C Greenwood, Elio Riboli, Lars J Vatten, Serena Tonstad, Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality—a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies, International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 46, Issue 3, June 2017, Pages 1029–1056, https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyw319
  2. Nguyen B., Ding D., Mihrshahi S. Fruit and vegetable consumption and psychological distress: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses based on a large Australian sample. BMJ Open2017;7(3) doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014201.e014201

Written by Amanda Rohwedder, M.S.

Amanda Rohwedder is a degreed nutritionist based in Denver, Colorado. She holds a B.S. Nutritional Science and an M.S. Medical Science with a concentration in Women’s Health. She founded Temple and Table in 2017 as a way to nourish our culture by drawing a connection between physical and spiritual health. For more information on T+T’s mission, visit templeandtable.com. Now available! Order a copy of Amanda’s recipe book published by CCL, Food for Fertility: Recipes to improve health and manage PCOS at www.ccli.org/store