Did you know that adding color to every meal can help lead to a longer, healthier life? Loading up on brightly colored fruits and vegetables will give anyone a strong nutritional punch, but it’s especially important for older adults to eat ample healthy foods from the garden. You can help your loved one get the nutrition they need by including their favorite fruits and veggies at every meal.
Fruits and veggies get their rich color and distinctive taste from phytonutrients—chemical compounds found in plants that help strengthen their immune system and protect them from threats in the environment. Thankfully, when we eat these healthy, colorful foods, those same protective elements also help us lower our risk for chronic diseases, and phytonutrients have been shown to have strong anti-cancer and anti-heart disease effects.
Colorful fruits and veggies are also chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and the US Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. And don’t forget to mix it up because each color provides different vitamins and minerals and offers a specific benefit:
Red foods are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can help protect cells from damage:
- red peppers,
Orange & Yellow
These fruits and veggies contain a carotenoid pigment that contributes to keeping
your heart healthy and may help lower the risk of diabetes and other diseases:
- sweet potatoes,
There’s a reason you keep hearing about “getting your greens.” Many studies have shown
that greens, especially cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts, help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease:
- brussels sprouts,
- green tea
Blue & Purple
Darkly colored fruits and veggies contain a powerful antioxidant known as anthocyanin—an
anti-inflammatory that helps boost the immune system.
- red peppers,
White & Brown
Though these foods may not be as pretty as their more colorful counterparts, white and
brown veggies also contain healthy and helpful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients.
So, think about the rainbow every time you cook for or share a meal with mom or dad and paint the plates with color. Enjoy a more delicious, nutritious meal and feel good about eating healthy!
Home Care Angels provides assistance with daily activities, such as dressing, eating and personal care, from home service aides. Please call 847.824.5221 to speak with one of our Client Care Coordinators if you would like more information on in-home care.