New Year's Resolution: Eat More Rainbows
Tips from The Cancer Project - The Nutrition Rainbow
One simple way to eat more healthfully is to add more color to your plate. Did you know that the more naturally colorful your meal is, the more likely it is to have an abundance of carotenoids, as well as other healthy nutrients? Carotenoids are the pigments that give fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes, their bright colors. Beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein are all different varieties of carotenoids that act as antioxidants with strong anti-cancer properties. The chart below shows the cancer-fighting and immune-boosting power of different-hued foods.
eat more rainbows (go raw vegan!)
from: http://www.notmilk.com Robert Cohen, 12/30/05 article:
New Year's Resolution: Eat More Rainbows
"Your new year's resolution should be to eat one more rainbow each day than you did last year. Legend suggests that a pot of gold can be found at the end of each rainbow. That treasure can be cashed in to preserve your good health and ward off future disease... The violet, indigo and blues of the plant kingdom include phenols and dithiolthiolnines contained in eggplant, cruciferous vegetables, grapes, plums, and grains. Eat onions and shallots, leeks, scallions and garlic for cancer-fighting alliums. Those green leafy vegetables contain flavonoids, and inositol is found in beans. Green fruits and veggies contain phenols, and plant sterols, protease inhibitors and saponins..."
[Every so often, Robert takes time off from being controversial (!) and writes a classic in his daily column. This one's a true joy; both scientific and poetic. The full column is below and here. Best wishes to everyone for a Happy Veg'n New Year! Mark]
"New Year's Resolution: Eat More Rainbows
Your new year's resolution should be to eat one more rainbow each day than you did last year. Legend suggests that a pot of gold can be found at the end of each rainbow. That treasure can be cashed in to preserve your good health and ward off future disease.
Society considers that which is white, to be pure. Such a belief can be deceptive. By shining white light through a prism, one is instantly blessed with the hidden beauty and complex nature of our universe. A pure white beam of light reveals its inner essense.
Most people can name the seven visible colors of the rainbow's spectrum. Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Of course, there are two other colors, often forgotten, but always present, ultraviolet and infra- red.
Animals and insects feel these colors. Plants sense them too. While we lack the same receptors and are blind to their existance, our handicap cannot negate their influence.
The ultras and infras of plants are magical substances, indeed! They include plant chemicals, or phyto chemicals, such as isoflavones and bioflavinoids. Science teaches us that plants protect themselves from attack with their own secretions and chemical messengers. Vegetables repel insects who would eat them, and blossoms attract other insects with a perfume so that their pollens can be spread and their species self-propagate. Plants protect themselves from too much heat, or cold, or wind, or too much moisture, maintaining their own good health with their specialized hormones. Plants can cure their own sicknesses and cancers by secreting and bathing themselves with these enchanted essences.
When we eat the plants, we are similarly protected. Modern science has confirmed the centuries-old traditions and lore from cultures that refined the sacred techniques of using foods as medicine. We have often heart that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Such wisdom!
Today's Perfect Rainbow
Eat foods of color. The perfect color can be found right in the middle of our rainbow, the color green.
Eat green for wellness.
In the 1980s, scientists first began to explore how phytochemicals prevent cancers. A great amount of emphasis was placed upon the fruits and vegetables that contain vibrant colors. The best known of these wonder drugs was recognized as beta carotene. That's what gives carrots their bright orange hue.
In the 1990s, scientists at the University of Minnesota (Steinmetz, et. al.) categorized different groups of fruits and vegetables demonstrating life giving, disease fighting qualities. In doing so, they defined some of those magic colors, and the phytochemicals so contained within those pigments.
The violet, indigo and blues of the plant kingdom include phenols and dithiolthiolnines contained in eggplant, cruciferous vegetables, grapes, plums, and grains.
Eat onions and shallots, leeks, scallions and garlic for cancer-fighting alliums. Those green leafy vegetables contain flavonoids, and inositol is found in beans. Green fruits and veggies contain phenols, and plant sterols, protease inhibitors and saponins.
Yellow limonines contained in citrus fruit and squash have also been identified as cancer fighters, as have the orange carotines in carrots, and my all-time favorite vitamin pill, the cantaloupe. Balancing out the rainbow's spectrum would be the red phenols in peppers, radishes, and tomatoes.
Tens of thousands of unique substances have been identified, and there are still plant hormones and enzymes yet to be discovered.
Remarkably, the one plant containing the greatest amount of these wonderful phytochemicals is the soybean. The tiny soybean contains coumarins, flavonoids, inositol, isoflavones, lignans, phenols, plant sterols, protease inhibitors, saponins, and Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils.
So, on new year's eve, visit your local produce store and treat yourself and family to a rainbow. Make this a daily tradition never to be broken."
Robert Cohen, 12/30/05