Eat colors for your best health “EAT THE RAINBOW”
Eating a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables is the best way to stay healthy, build up a strong immune system, build and diversify your gut microbiome, and live your best life.
My interest in optimizing my health started after getting very sick for several months after I competed in my first bodybuilding competition, and losing 110 pounds in 3 years.
At age 17 I was lean, but not “healthy”. I had eaten a very “BRO” diet that consisted of about 14 foods for 24 weeks.
This diet, combined with training, cardio, and precise tracking got me in incredible shape on the outside, but inside, I most likely had several nutrient deficiencies, and this also lowered my immune function, so I would frequently get sick.
As I started learning more about nutrition and micronutrients, I began to diversify my diet and changed what I was eating on a weekly basis. I can now say that since 2018 I’ve been having a diverse amount of fruits and veggies daily, changing out colors daily to weekly. I get sick less than once a year now and when I do, it will only last 1 to 3 days max. And I have seen this play out in many clients as well when we work on nutrition and diversifying their foods. It’s worth noting that I also add that supplements, make sure to get adequate sleep, and proper recovery from workouts, all of which work together to create optimal health and immune function!
I understand that this is just one case study but let me explain some of the benefits and you can try it yourself to see how you feel and how you like it. THE WORST that can happen is that you get healthier!
Examples: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy
What it has: isothiocyanates: compounds found in cruciferous vegetables that can help prevent cancer by cleansing cancer-causing compounds from the body. You reap the most benefits from eating these veggies raw. These veggies are also high in folate, a vitamin needed to form healthy cells.
Examples: avocadoes, kiwi, leafy greens (like spinach and kale), green peppers, zucchini, corn
What it has: Yellow/green fruits and veggies contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds that are important for eye health — they help ward off or delay age-related macular degeneration. These nutrients are fat-soluble, so sauteing them will help you absorb lutein and zeaxanthin. Avocados come with healthy fats to aid absorption.
Examples: tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit
What it has: Lycopene is what gives these fruits and vegetables their color. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may lower your risk of heart disease, offer some protection against prostate cancer and even keep your skin looking smoother. Two things enhance the concentration and absorption of lycopene — cooking it and eating it with oil (since it’s fat-soluble).
These are just a few examples, and we could certainly go on and on with this list, but the main point is to show the importance of varying your fruits and veggies, and to build awareness of the often overlooked nutritional benefit of these miraculous foods! Calories in and calories out sounds nice, but let’s give our bodies more love and respect than that, and focus on truly nourishing them for optimal health!
Here are some tips on how to implement new foods into your diet:
Plan ahead: Buy a wide range of fruits and veggies that you can eat each week.
Buy in bulk/have it or forget it: If you don’t have them in the house you’re probably not going to eat it, right? RIGHT! So if you buy a week’s worth of food at a time, get fresh for the first 2 to 4, and frozen for the last 3 to 5. P.s Frozen veggies and fruits are still full of healthy nutrients!
Mix up the flavors: Some veggies are not the greatest, but many are very tasty to most people! So add flavor and plan around with cooking and prep.
Change daily, weekly, & monthly: This will ensure the greatest variety over the months and year. It also keeps it fresh so you don’t get bored, and allows you to eat what’s in season which can also be gentler on the budget. Win, win, win!!
Eat the veggies in your meals FIRST, before you fill up on other things.
-Coach Hunter Covelski Pn1 nutrition coach.