Today’s guest post is written by Yvette Ladd, a pharmacist, yoga teacher, and Professional Yoga Therapist candidate who is currently pursuing her masters in nutrition science. Read more about Yvette.
Eating from the Rainbow: Color & Variety Enhance Your Health
‘Eating from the rainbow’ refers to consuming a variety of plant foods that exhibit the many eye-appealing colors included within the spectrum of a rainbow. More than visually stimulating, studies support that eating from the rainbow offers numerous health protective effects due to the bounteous, assorted phytonutrients that are found in plant-based nutrition, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds.
Phytonutrients are natural chemicals, unique to plants that protect against heat, oxidation, pests, fungi and other threats. It is believed that this same protection is transferred to our bodies when fresh, minimally processed plant foods are included in our diet. Cancer prevention and reduced risk of heart disease have been linked to phytonutrients and numerous other chronic conditions have been beneficially influenced with plant foods5.
Another bonus of eating from the rainbow is the compliment of essential vitamins and minerals inherent to plant life. Necessary to optimal health, vitamins and minerals keep us going literally and figuratively. In his book The World’s Healthiest Foods, George Mateljan tells us “the most nutrient-rich foods have the greatest nutrient value for the least number of calories.” Vital nutrients translate into improved health parameters of efficient blood sugar regulation, normalized blood pressure and balanced cholesterol. Appropriately utilized nutrients show up in bright eyes, clear skin, strong hair and nails and a healthy body weight. Quality nutrition is felt in lightness of body, clarity of mind, enhanced daily energy and fluidity of joints.
To date, thousands of phytonutrients have been identified and classified according to the benefits they offer4. It is estimated that many more will be discovered as research continues around the world.
Following is a chart to help you track your dietary variety. Get creative with your meal plans! Try adding a vegetable to breakfast or make a pact with your family to try one new plant food each week. Look for leaves, shoots and roots, flowers, stalks and bulbs. Try herbs, wild foods, seaweeds, grasses, sprouts, juices and teas. Choose fresh, local and organic whenever possible to ensure the highest level of nutrition. While some are perfect eaten raw, steaming, lightly sautéing and slow cooking are recommended methods of preserving all of the goodness that plants have to offer.
More reading on Eating the Rainbow from guest bloggers:
- Let’s Talk Nutrition: Are Your Health Care Pros Rainbow Advocates?
- Eating the Rainbow to Live Well
- Eating the Rainbow: A Quick Guide to Eating Well
- Holford, P. (2004). New Optimum Nutrition Bible. Berkeley, Toronto, Canada: The Crossing Press.
- Mateljan, G. (2007). The World’s Healthiest Foods. Seattle , WA: George Mateljan Foundation.
- Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, 3rd Ed. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
- USDA:ARS. (2005, April 8). PL FAQs. Retrieved August 11, 2014, from United States Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service: http://www.ars.usda.gov/aboutus/docs.htm?docid=4142
- Winston J. Craig, P. R. (1997, October). Phytochemicals Guardians of our Health. Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
About the Author
Yvette Ladd RPh, PYT-C, RYT
Yvette is a Registered Pharmacist, Registered Yoga Teacher and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, practicing in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Yvette is the owner of Wellness Pursuits. Her love and curiosity of the human body has long inspired her pursuit of personal wellness and fuels her current teachings and service offerings to her clients. She believes that when provided the proper resources our bodies have extraordinary potential to carry us through a long and vibrant life.
Yvette’s Integrated Health and Wellness programs are a fusion of her education and experience in the health and fitness professions and offer her clients a customized healing path with regard to the whole person. Utilizing modalities such as movement practices (exercise/yoga), conscious nutrition, nurturing routines and a supportive environment, clients can reestablish equilibrium and create optimal health, allowing them the freedom and energy to enjoy a full life.
Yvette can be reached via www.wellness-pursuits.com or by email firstname.lastname@example.org