Maximizing the Rainbow of Colors for Your Health


Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.              

Choosing the most colorful foods to eat on a daily basis ensures you are getting lots of antioxidants which can help to decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia and macular degeneration.  Each color in a vegetable or fruit represents a different set of antioxidants which contain different health benefits.  Common antioxidants are: vitamins C and E, beta carotene (precursor to vitamin A), lutein, lycopene, anthocyanins and isoflavones.


Color Food Sources Nutrient (s) Benefit (s)
Red Tomatoes, red bell peppers, pink grapefruit, watermelon, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, pomegranates, red-skinned apples, guava. Lycopene Prostate cancer fighters. Reduced risk of macular degeneration & cataracts. Protective against lung & heart disease.

Red/Purple Grapes, grape juice, apples, cranberries. Flavonoids Clot busters. May prevent heart disease


Orange Sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin, orange bell peppers, apricots, mangoes. Alpha- and beta carotene


Cancer fighters which improve immune function.
Orange/ Yellow Yellow bell peppers, yellow summer squash, cantaloupes, oranges, tangerines, peaches, papaya, nectarines. Cryptoxanthin  Cancer fighters which improve immune. Improves reproductive & bone health. Improve blood pressure.


Yellow/ Green Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, arugula, asparagus, yellow corn, green peas, celery, parsley, watercress, artichokes, okra,  avocado, honeydew melons, kiwi. Lutein and zeaxanthin Protect retinas from macular degeneration and cataracts.



Green   Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage.


Sulforaphane   Cancer fighters by reducing tumor growth. Blocks carcinogens from initiating cancer. Fight hormone-related cancer.


White/ Green Garlic, onions, endive, chives, potatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, leeks, jicama, rutabagas, bananas.           Organosulfides Cancer fighters,

and clot busters. Contain strong anti-bacterial properties.


Blue/ Purple                 Eggplant, purple cabbage, purple potatoes, blueberries, plums, blackberries, prunes, dark grapes. Anthocyanins, antioxidants     Cancer fighters and

possible brain

boosters. Prevent blood clots from forming.



*Reference: Reader’s Digest Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal. 2013 edition.


Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition,, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.    


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