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The Bottom Line for Cancer Fighting Foods:
Phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients, or plant nutrients are the KEY to a health promoting diet. The more the better!
Food sources of phytochemicals come from:
- PLANTS! You will note that you do not get phytochemicals in animal based
foods. Consuming animal products can be part of a cancer fighting diet,
but only in the context of mostly plant based diet.
processed. Plants that are processed basically have phytochemicals
removed. White rice does not have near the phytochemical count that
brown rice does.
- Bonus points for phytochemicals from tea,
herbs, spices and whole grains. Anything that is a plant has phytochemicals.
Why Does Color Matter?
The color of our food tells us something. And I’m not talking about color, like jelly beans, or kool-aid! I’m talking about the colors of foods when they are grown in the ground. The color they are grown to be. The color of the food actually represents the phytochemicals, or plant nutrients, that are present in the food.
Every color is important, and by eating a variety of colors on your plate, you will make sure to get a variety of nutrients. Over the next few articles, I will highlight a color group and share what makes it particularly good for you, and share practical recipes that I use. Today it’s the purple, blue, red group!
Foods with Red, Purple and Blue Color
There are a lot of delicious foods that fit into the Red/Purple/Blue color group. Here’s a list to get you started thinking about it:
- red bell peppers
- kidney beans
- & more! – obligatory on lists of things 🙂
Nutrients in Red, Purple & Blue Foods
As a reminder, there are over 900 different phytochecmicals discovered so far. Here are some of the phytonutrients that are found in red, purple and blue plant foods:
- Antioxidants like anthocyanins (blueberries are one of the top sources of these particular antioxidants), lycopene (watermelon and tomatoes) all work to protect against cell damage.
- Folic acid (strawberries, beets, kidney beans) – keeps DNA healthy and promotes and maintains the growth of new cells.
- Fiber (all fruits and vegetables) – fiber is known to reduce risk for colon cancer.
- Vitamin C (berries, grapefruit, red peppers) – essential for wound healing and protects cells from damage.
- Vitamin A (red peppers) – necessary for eye and skin health.
- Potassium (cherries, figs and tomatoes) – helps to protect against nerve damage and plays a role in electrolyte balance.
There are many reasons to make sure that you have red, purple & blue foods on your plate at least once a day!