Fighting for Fruits and Vegetables: 5 Tips for Eating More Produce
Eat the Rainbow
The best possible way to encourage children to eat better is to offer a variety of good-tasting, healthy foods every day, at every meal. “Eat the rainbow. Go for color,” says Tanner. In fact, foods that can stain your clothing—beets and blueberries, for example—are generally packed with the most powerful antioxidants that can cleanse cells and regenerate tissue damaged by toxic substances, says Dr. Pastore. These compounds offer a wealth of health protection and aid in good vision as well as a healthy heart, lungs, kidneys, and virtually every organ and tissue in the body. “The more staining potential the fruit or veggie,” explains Dr. Pastore, “the more powerful the antioxidant power.”
The staining potential of fruits and vegetables gives parents one clue to their healthful qualities. Parents can gain other clues simply by looking at the color of the food. For example, deep red and bright pink fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon, are high in lycopene and anthocyanins, two phytochemicals that may prevent lung, stomach, and prostate cancer, says Marlo Mittler, a registered dietitian specializing in pediatrics and family nutrition in New York City.
“Orange varieties, such as carrots, squash and citrus, are rich in beta-carotene and liminoids, which reduce the risk of cataracts and lung cancer, protect against bronchitis and asthma, and decrease bad cholesterol,” she adds.
The purple-colored fruits and veggies—including grapes, raspberries, and eggplant—are high anthocyanins and phenolics, which are currently being studied for their antioxidant and anti-aging benefits, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation.
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