“Plants can’t put on a hat or wear sunscreen, so in order to survive, they create chemicals with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, thus when we eat the produce, these substances are passed on to us,” James A. Joseph, Ph.D., Chief of the Neuroscience Lab at the U.S. Department of Agricultural Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture thus recommends eating five-nine servings (each serving is half a cup) of fruits and vegetables daily to reap the benefits of these substances or compounds to achieve proper health benefits.
It is recommended that along with quantity, the following rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables should be consumed daily.
- RED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Contain a compound Lycopene. It reduces your risk for heart disease and cancer. Lycopene also includes vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin C and Folate. They keep your vision and immune system healthy and prevent urinary tract infection. Moreover, resveratrol in grapes (red wine) help treat lung disease, heart disease and asthma. It includes fruits and vegetables like: strawberries, tomatoes, red grapes, radishes, red bell peppers and cranberries.
- GREEN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Contain compounds called lutein and zeaxanthin that help protect against blindness and muscular degeneration while isothiocyanates compound found in some green vegetables protect against cancer. It includes fruits and vegetables like: kale, spinach, avocados, kiwi, Brussels sprouts and romaine lettuce.
- ORANGE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Contain a compound called beta-carotene. It boosts your immune system, maintains healthy bones, maintains healthy skin and eyesight. While the citrus fruits in this category protect against heart disease. It includes fruits and vegetables like: mangoes, oranges, pumpkin, carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe.
- YELLOW FRUIT AND VEGETABLES: Contain a compound called limonoid that fight off cancers like, skin, lung, stomach, breast and colon. It also contains Vitamin C that strengthens the immune system. It includes fruits and vegetables like: yellow bell peppers, pineapple, lemons, grapefruit and squash.
- BLUE AND PURPLE VEGETABLES AND FRUIT: Blueberries have the highest antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetables. Blueberries help keep memory sharp and fight against cancer. Purple fruit and vegetables contain ellagic acid that guards against cancer. It includes fruit and vegetables like: eggplant, blackberries, raisins, prunes, purple onions, figs and blackberries.