So what does color have to do with a health diet, besides look nice? One word: phytochemicals. These substances occur naturally only in plants and may provide health benefits beyond those that essential nutrients provide. Color, such as what makes a blueberry so blue, can indicate some of these substances, which are thought to work synergistically with vitamins, minerals, and fiber (all present in fruits and vegetables) in whole foods to promote good health and lower disease risk.
According to information from the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), phytochemicals may act as antioxidants, protect and regenerate essential nutrients, and/or work to deactivate cancer-causing substances. And while research has not yet determined exactly how these substances work together or which combination offers specific benefits, including a rainbow of colored foods in a diet plan ensures a variety of those nutrients and phytochemicals.
Since the average American is eating less than five servings per day of their peas, carrots, and cantaloupe, when it should be upward of seven to 13 servings for most adults, you could be unknowingly missing out on a gold mine of disease prevention. Consider counting colors instead of calories as an easier fix for not only weight control but overall wellness.