Month 6: Eat the Colors of the Rainbow!
Dr Anne Zauderer

Whether we realize it or not, we are influenced by how food looks. We are attracted to food with vibrant color, which is why food companies add artificial food dyes to processed food to make it more appealing to us! The reason we are attracted to color is because foods that are colorful are rich in something called phytonutrients (the prefix phyto means “plant”). These phytonutrients are the rich colors that protect plants from the sun’s UV rays, which mean they also have a protective effect in our bodies when we eat them.

Some examples of these color nutrients are:

  • Beta carotene – found in orange fruits and vegetables such sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin
  • Lutein – found in green vegetables such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, zucchini, and Brussel sprouts
  • Lycopene – found in red fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, watermelon, guava, grapefruits, papaya, and apricots

Aim to get as many colors in your diet per day as you can. Great ways to do this are with fresh salads and smoothies. I always get excited when I am preparing a meal and chopping vegetables and they stain my hands with color. I know those are the super foods with rich phytonutrients!

Summer is a great season to experiment with new fruits and vegetables because there are so many fresh ones from which to choose. Head out to a local farmer’s market and try some of these colorful foods: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, beets, tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, oranges, grapes, and cherries.

If you are interested in knowing your own phytonutrient status, you can measure the color nutrients listed above through the Bio-Center Laboratory at the Riordan Clinic. You can walk-in without a doctor’s order and get these nutrients measured


To learn more about the concept of Food as Medicine, visit our YouTube page to watch the free lecture: [WATCH NOW]