The Role Of Fruit And Vegetables In Nutrition

More colour means more health. Growing up you might’ve been told to eat your greens, but what about your reds, oranges, yellows and blues? The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the 5 A Day Partnership strongly encourage you to “Sample the Spectrum” of the colourful vegetables and fruit which are available this season.

By putting something more colourful on your plate or in your lunch bag, you’re more likely to eat the 5 to 9 recommended helpings of vegetables and fruit each day. Just think: 1 cup of dark, leafy greens, ½ cup of red tomatoes, ½ cup of yellow peppers, 6 oz. orange juice and ½ cup of blueberries. And you’ll have 5 A Day! It is quite simple when you “Sample the Spectrum” which is available to you.

The more reds, oranges, greens, yellows, and blues you get on your plate, the more health promoting properties you’ll be getting from your vegetable and fruit choices. Nutrition research shows that colourful vegetables and fruit contain certain essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, and phytochemicals that your body needs to promote health and help you feel good inside. More specifically, here are some guidelines:

Red Fruits And Vegetables

When you add colours such as deep reds or bright pinks to your daily diet, you’re also adding a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene can be found in tomatoes, red and pink grapefruit, watermelon, papaya and guava. Diets rich in lycopene are being studied for their ability to fight certain heart diseases and some cancers.

Green Fruits And Vegetables

Do you know why green is so essential to your diet? Not only do green vegetables look good and taste wonderful, but they’re also rich in the phytochemicals that keep you healthy. For example, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are found in spinach, collards, kale and broccoli contain antioxidant properties and are being studied for their ability to protect your eyes by keeping your retina strong. Also, research is being carried out on cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and turnips to see if they can reduce the risk of cancerous tumours! Greens are also packed with essential vitamins (folate), minerals, and fibre.

Orange And Yellow Fruit And Vegetables

Orange, the colour of a blazing hot sun, is a must have in your daily diet. Orange vegetables and fruits such as sweet potatoes, mangos, carrots, and apricots, contain beta-carotene. This carotenoid is a natural antioxidant which is being studied for its role in enhancing your immune system. Further to being touted as a powerful health-protector, the orange group is also rich in Vitamin C. Folate, most often found in leafy greens, can also be found in orange fruits and vegetables, and is a B vitamin that can help prevent some birth defects and reduce your risks of heart disease. With a chemical make-up which is this good, make sure to make the orange group a part of your 5 to 9 a day.

Bright yellows have many of the same properties as the orange groups: they are high in essential vitamins and carotenoids. Pineapple, for example, is rich in Vitamin C, manganese, and the natural enzyme, bromelain. Additionally to that, corn and pears are high in fibre. Yellow fruits and vegetables belong to many different kinds of families, but they all share the common bond of being health enhancing with a great taste to boot. So go for the gold!

Blue And Purple Fruit And Vegetables

Blues and purples not only add beautiful shades of richness to your plate, they also add health-enhancing flavonoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Anthocyanins, a phytochemical, are pigments responsible for the blue colour in fruit and vegetable, and are under study for their role in the body’s defense of harmful carcinogens. Blueberries in particular, are also rich in Vitamin C and folic acid and high in fibre and potassium.

White Fruit And Vegetables

Vegetables from the onion family, including garlic, chives, scallions, leeks, and any variety of onion, contain a phytochemical called allicin. Research is being conducted on:

• Allicin to learn in what way it can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and increase the body’s ability to fight infection.

• Indoles and sulfaforaphanes, phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, for their ability in inhibiting cancer growth.

• Polyphenols, another important phytochemical contained in pears and green grapes for how they may reduce the risk of certain cancers.


John Rifkind is a contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.

Benefits Of Nutritional Foods

One of the biggest reasons why diets and attempts at healthy eating fail is boredom. Many people don’t know how to stick to a healthy diet which is interesting day after day. It can be quite a challenge.

Given the huge variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats and other healthy foods available at your local grocery store, however, it’s definitely possible to create some exciting, nutritious meals that will keep boredom at bay.

However, it’s important to check the nutritional qualities of the fruits and vegetables that you buy, and not simply assume that all fruits and vegetables are  healthy in the same way.

As far as what to eat goes, buying anything at the grocery shop from the following list is your straight path to better health. These healthy foods include but are not limited to:

• Fruits such as bananas, berries and apples

• Whole grain food including bread and pasta

• Low-fat dairy products including milk and yogurt

• Protein such as chicken, turkey and fish

• Vegetables such as spinach, squash and tomatoes

• Natural peanut butter

• Pulse, Beans and legumes

• Almonds and all other nuts

Food You Must Avoid

Refined foods are a big industry, and do draw a gigantic profit. When industries are accustomed to raking in big profits, they do what any industry would do: protect their profits at all costs. Additionally, these profits bring power, and information can be put forth, covered over, or otherwise manipulated to protect that power.

Most people know which kinds of food they should stay away from. The obvious ones include desserts, high-fat products, sweets, fast food and fried food. As a matter of fact, most people will feel a big difference simply by staying away from these kinds of foods altogether. The not-so-obvious foods include:

• Pasta

• Fat-free food

• Most frozen meals

• Processed meat like fake cold cuts

• Soda and juice

• Creamy meals

Your biggest weapon in your battle towards eating right is common sense. So use it!


John Rifkind is a contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.

Information On Nutrition

Nutritional information seems to be everywhere nowadays. The secret to feeding your family and yourself a healthy diet consisting of healthier food is to read the labels. The United States Food & Drug Administration has laid out some strict rules for nutritional labeling of all food products.

The nutrition label will tell you all you need to know in order to choose real health foods. But with the new FDA guidelines, mandating more detailed information on the labels of every product you purchase, it could quickly become a case of overload very soon.

To start with, here are some facts (and myths) about some of the more common, “healthy” snack food you come across every day:

Yogurt: This can be either very good or very bad for you, depending on many factors. A real yogurt should have two ingredients: milk (whole, skim or low fat) and live yogurt culture. That is healthy food consisting of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A and protein.

However, a lot of the yogurts at the grocery store are loaded with various kinds of hidden sugars. Flavours such as lime pie, kiwi-raspberry, strawberry-banana, etc., usually come with heavy doses of sugar which are added in order to generate that particular flavour. Quite often, the actual “fruit” is of poor quality and was too damaged or over-ripe to sell as a raw produce.

The solution to this is to buy plain, fat-free, sugarless yogurt, and then add your own nuts, berries or fresh fruits to it. This way you’ll have complete control over how healthy you would like your yogurt to be.

Granola bars: The first granola bars were the same as normal granola except for the shape. Instead of a loose, breakfast cereal-like consistency, granola bars were pressed into a bar shape and baked in that shape. These granola bars often tend to contain dried fruit, as normal granola.

Granola bars have since then evolved into expensive candy bars which contain chocolate chips and gooey caramel. The whole wheat flour is bleached and denuded of its flavorful kernels.

To conclude, here are some things to bear in mind when reading nutrition labels for health food:

* In the ingredients area of the nutrition label, ingredients are listed in order of amount. The ingredient that is listed first is the main ingredient, followed by the next largest amount, etc.

* The nutritional facts label must list each of the required nutrients even if the food provides 0% of your recommended daily value.

* The nutritional facts label must list what portion of the food’s calories are derived from fat, sugar, protein and carbohydrates. It should also break down the fat into saturated and unsaturated fat.


John Rifkind is a contributing editor at This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.