A colorful plate is more than just Instagram-worthy. Eating meals with a variety of colors is good for your health. Think red tomatoes, leafy greens, bright blueberries, orange carrots, or purple eggplants—basically, all the fruits and vegetables in the colors of the rainbow. They can add lots of nutritional benefits to your diet and keep your body and mind healthy for a long time.
Eighty-seven percent of Americans don’t eat enough vegetables, and 76 percent don’t eat enough fruit every day according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Americans tend to eat a very beige diet. While beige is a lovely shade for home decor or as a versatile clothing choice, when it comes to your food, you want to avoid eating an all beige diet.
Meals that are heavy in fried foods like French fries or chicken nuggets, cereal, bread, pasta, chips, cookies, and so on constitute “beige” foods. Eating these foods in moderation is OK, but you don’t want to see everything beige on your plate for every meal. When you eat a mostly beige diet, you miss out on important nutrients your body needs, while you are getting too much of the ingredients you don’t need, like trans fats, saturated fats, sugar, and sodium.
Incorporate colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal: the greater the variety of colors in your diet, the better. Eating a wide variety of colorful foods is the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Young children are taught to “eat the rainbow,” and this is good advice for adults as well. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help lower your risks for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and cancer.
Why is a colorful diet better for you? Here are five reasons why adding lots of color to your diet is good for you, according to the American Heart Association:
- All of the good stuff. Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet provides you with all of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
- Less of the bad stuff. Fruits and vegetables don’t contain unhealthy trans fats, saturated fats, or the sodium found in other processed or packaged foods.
- Better weight management. Fruits and vegetable are low in calories, and they fill you up with lots of healthy fiber and water, which can help you lose or maintain weight.
- Fruits and vegetables are flexible, super foods. You can buy fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables and reap the same health benefits. They are convenient, versatile, and affordable for use in all sorts of recipes or eaten as a snack or side dish on their own. Just be sure to always chose fruits and vegetables with the lowest sodium content and no added sugar when buying any type other than fresh.
- You get a whole body health boost. Fruits and vegetables are crucial to not only your every day health but also for long-term health. They can help reduce your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.