The Importance of a Colorful Diet

Pack your plate full of color and boost your daily intake of important, and often overlooked, nutrients.

According to Joetta Redlin, MS, RD, LD, registered dietitian and director of nutrition services at Winneshiek Medical Center, “Colorful foods, which are generally fruits and vegetables, contain many of the vitamins and antioxidants we need – with few calories. Along with maintaining good health, the nutrients in vegetables and fruits work together to protect against cancer, heart disease, vision loss, hypertension and other diseases. Increasing fruits and vegetables in your diet is a great step to improve your health.”

Red fruits and vegetables

Red fruits and vegetables protect our hearts. Red color in most fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis, hypertension and high cholesterol. They also lower the risk of developing different types of cancer, including prostate cancer and protect against heart diseases and improve brain function.

Red Vegetables: tomatoes, radishes, red cabbage, beets

Red Fruits: red grapes, strawberries, watermelon, cherries, raspberries, pomegranates, cranberries, red apples

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables help prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer. Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are very important for your memory and promote healthy aging. This food also protects urinary tract health and regulates healthy digestion.

Blue and Purple Vegetables: eggplant, purple cabbage, purple potatoes

Blue and Purple Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, purple grapes, plums, raisins, figs

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that are known to protect your nervous system promote eye health and prevent heart diseases. They also play an important role in maintaining skin health, boosting your immune system and helping build strong bones.

Orange and Yellow Vegetables: carrots, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweet potato, yellow pepper, yellow tomatoes

Orange and Yellow Fruits: yellow apples, apricots, oranges, grapefruit, peaches, mangoes, papaya, pears, pineapple

Green fruits and vegetables

Green fruits and vegetables protect your eye health, lowering the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Green leafy vegetables also contain folic acid which is very important for pregnant women as it reduces the risk that their baby will develop a birth defect. The essential nutrients found in green vegetables and fruits protect you from cancer and high levels of bad cholesterol, regulate digestion and improve immune system functioning.

Green Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, green pepper

Green Fruits: green apples, kiwi, green grapes, lime, avocado

White fruits and vegetables

White fruits and vegetables contain nutrients known to lower the level of bad cholesterol in your body as well as lower high blood pressure. They also have a great immune boosting effect on your body. Nutrients found in white fruits and vegetables minimize the risk of colon, prostate and breast cancer as well.

White Vegetables: potatoes, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, turnips

White Fruits: bananas, white nectarines, white peaches, pears

In This Section

Return to Healthy Eating