- Dr. Nancy
Food Pride: Eat the Rainbow
No single food contains all the necessary nutrients for overall health and wellness. Eating a diet rich in diverse vegetables and fruit ensures that you consume adequate amounts of all essential nutrients.
There is not a one-size-fits-all diet. Instead, it is important to personalize your food strategy to meet the needs of your cells, as well as your health and wellness goals.
We need to look beyond weight loss and focus on creating an ideal environment within the body to support and build health. When this is achieved, your body optimizes its performance and weight takes care of itself!
This starts with a plant-forward approach. The 80/20 ratio works well for most people and it supports a health-promoting alkaline pH environment within the body. Focus on consuming 80% “alive” food in the form of vegetables and fruit. The remaining 20% is protein and fat.
No fruit or vegetable has just a single phytonutrient or antioxidant. Fortunately, many contain a complete spectrum of these essential nutritional superpowers. Each color has a primary phytonutrient profile and benefit, for example:
Red: (lycopene) heart health and reduces cancer risk
Orange: (beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor) boosts the immune system and promotes healthy eye function.
Yellow: (lutein ) eye health
White: (anthoxanthins) heart health and boost cancer defense
Green: (chlorophyll) to protect cells from damage
Blue/purple: (anthocyanins) brain-protective
But don’t be fooled into thinking that you can get by with just eating 1 or 2 varieties. It is important to eat the entire spectrum of colors from red to green to white to reap the full benefit and synergistic effect of these powerhouses.
Diversity is the key to success. And who doesn’t want a bit of variety when trying to consume 10-12 servings of vegetables each and every day, along with 2 fruit! Here are some of the benefits of eating the rainbow everyday:
1. Promote An Alkaline Environment
The Standard American Diet laden with meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods can disrupt the delicate balance of your internal environment, causing low-grade metabolic acidosis. Your body often robs your bones and tissues of essential minerals that are lacking without the consumption of “alive” food. A diverse plant-forward diet provides your body what it needs to restore and maintain the preferred alkaline environment and optimize your cell function, without robbing Peter to pay Paul.
2. Combat Inflammation
Chronic inflammation causes more than achy muscles and joints. It can be at the root of many diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Research has shown an inverse relationship between a highly diverse fruit and vegetable intake and a lower C-reactive protein (an inflammatory biomarker).
3. Foster A Healthy Gut Microbiome
Our gut plays a major role in our overall health. It is now thought that 80% of our immune system resides in our gut. The strongest influence on the microbiome is diet. A healthy microbiome is one that has great diversity in numbers and species of organisms. Building diversity in your gut begins with having diversity in your diet.
4. Protect Your DNA
Oxidative stress is a common denominator of most of our chronic degenerative disease processes like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer. It occurs when there are not enough antioxidants available to neutralize free radicals within our cells. This imbalance can lead to the damage of our DNA. A highly diverse plant forward diet has been shown to reduce the damage to our DNA.
Embrace all fruits and vegetables. Eating the rainbow helps you to benefit from thousands of phytonutrients working together.