Color: The Key to Immunity
The foods we consume give us energy to live. But they also give our bodies a variety of nutrients that can help us fight off infection, disease, viruses, and even cancers.
Cara Adams, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert
Amid the winter months and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know which foods help support our body’s immune system.
Eating the rainbow is one of the best ways we can support immunity.
Plant foods contain substances called phytochemicals. These are plant chemicals that contribute to the color, taste, and smell of plant foods. Phytochemicals are found in all edible parts of plants, especially in the skin and peels of fruits and vegetables.
These substances have great benefits for our immune systems when we eat a variety of colors. Every color represents an abundance of specific vitamins and minerals that all have different properties including inhibiting cancer and tumor growth, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, fighting viruses, improving eye health, and improving the function and structure of our blood vessels.
Eight in 10 people in the United States are falling short in almost every color category of phytonutrients. Are you getting at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily? If not, consider the rainbow and which foods you enjoy in each color category below to plan out some immune-strengthening meals and snacks this week!
Red: beets, cranberries, strawberries, bell peppers, raspberries, cherries, radishes, and pomegranates
Yellow: acorn squash, mangoes, lemons, yellow carrots, spaghetti squash, pineapples, and corn
Orange: sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, cantaloupes, mandarin oranges, grapefruit, and peaches
Green: honeydew melons, collard greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, kiwi, avocados, and edamame
Blue/Purple: eggplants, blueberries, figs, plums, blackberries, prunes, cabbage, and grapes
White: taro root, mushrooms, turnips, parsnips, pears, onions, bean sprouts, and garlic