Did you know that you can reduce your risk of colon cancer by incorporating more colorful fruits and veggies into your diet? And eliminating meats further lowers your risk for developing colon cancer! However, for many of us, giving up meat is almost impossible. But as long as we include more colors into our diets, we are on the way to a healthier life!
According to a study by Loma Linda University in California, researchers analyzed the diets of over 70,000 people. Those who ate a vegetarian diet had a 22% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than those who did not. Additionally, those who followed a vegetarian diet including fish had an even greater reduction in risk at 43%!
While many of us may never be ready to give up meat (myself included), this blog will give you some tips on how to incorporate more healthy colors into your diet.
And especially with Thanksgiving a few days away, this article will give you ideas on how to incorporate more colorful foods into your favorite holiday dishes.
Red foods are a great source of folate and vitamin C. Red foods also contain flavonoids which may improve heart health, memory, and inflammation. Red foods also serve as antioxidants and can reduce the risk of diabetes and cancers such as colorectal, lung, breast and prostate cancer.
Some good examples of red foods include:
- Bell peppers
- Chili peppers
- Strawberries and raspberries
Orange and Yellow
Orange and yellow foods contain the antioxidants alpha and beta carotene which promotes eye health, improves your skin and immune system and strengthens your bones and joints. These foods also decrease the risk of heart diseases and some cancers such as stomach, colorectal and pancreatic cancer.
Good examples of these foods include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Pumpkins and
Leafy green plants contain chlorophyll (an antioxidant) which are a great source of vitamin A, K and calcium. The darker the green pigment, the more antioxidant is in the food, and this means the greater the anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Other foods, such as spinach and broccoli, are great for improving bone health and regulating blood clotting. Overall, green foods eliminate many of the toxins out of our bodies, which lowers the risks for cancers and supports digestive enzymes and the absorption of nutrients. When our nutrients are better absorbed, we feel more energized and boost our immune systems which help boost tissue healing and fight away illness. Green foods also significantly decrease our risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Good examples of green foods include:
- Leafy greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, arugula, chard, romaine, mixed greens, ect.)
- Brussel sprouts
- Kiwi, grapes, pears, green apples and other green fruits
- Green cabbage
- Green beans/ peas
- Zucchini (and other green squashes)
Blue and Purple
The dark color of these foods come from anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which pair to form a supercharged antioxidant. These antioxidants help prevent certain cancers, such as
colorectal and esophageal cancer. Blue and purple foods also promote heart and brain function, promote cellular strength, reduce inflammation and decrease your risk for vision loss.
Good examples of blue and purple foods include:
- Blackberries, blueberries and cranberries
- Purple grapes
- Purple cabbage
White and Tan
While you may be thinking that these are not colors, there are so many white and tan foods which are beneficial to our health. These foods help lower inflammation, which can prevent certain types of cancers. White foods can also help lower cholesterol, balance hormones and support our immune systems.
Good examples of white and tan foods include:
As you can see, all food color groups offer us a plethora of health benefits. And if you need more food ideas, remember that the foods mentioned in the above lists are only some of the many foods we should all start incorporating more into our daily diets. It’ is important to maintain a balanced diet using foods from all colors and eating in moderation when it comes to certain fruits with excess sugar or starches.
Challenge yourself this holiday season to incorporate more colors into your diet. We will be more than happy to hear about it!
Call our office at 662-280-8222 or email [email protected] if you have questions.
Ulric Duncan MD, Diplomate of Obesity Medicine
9140 Highway 51 North
Southaven MS 38671
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Written by Zeenat Mirza