Food Ingredients

The Color of Health

December 17, 2020

Patty James

Why is it important to eat lots of different colored fruits and vegetables? 

Each colored vegetable and fruit has unique properties and there is evidence that there are interactions between the colors that are beneficial to your health, so eating by the Rainbow is important.

Here are the colors:

Red foods contain lycopene that helps rid the body of damaging free radicals, protects against prostate cancer, as well as heart and lung disease. The red foods are loaded with antioxidants thought to protect against heart disease by preventing blood clots and may also delay the aging of cells in the body.

  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Red cabbage
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Pink grapefruit 
  • Red grapes 
  • Red peppers
  • Red potatoes 
  • Watermelon
  • Raspberries 
  • Red apples
  • Strawberries 

Green foods contain the chemicals that help ward off cancer by inhibiting carcinogens. Chlorophyll is the component that makes plant green, and is purifying in the body. Many green foods also contain calcium and minerals.

  • Kale, spinach and other leafy greens
  • Green apples
  • Artichokes 
  • Sea vegetables
  • Asparagus 
  • Avocados 
  • Green beans 
  • Broccoli 
  • Brussels sprouts 
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi 
  • Lettuce 
  • Limes 
  • Green onions 
  • Peas 
  • Zucchini 

Orange and yellow foods contain alpha carotene, which protects against cancer, but also contain beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A protecting the skin against free-radical damage. Beta-carotene is also good for night vision. 

  • Yams and sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Yellow apples
  • Apricots
  • Butternut squash
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines 
  • Oranges 
  • Papayas
  • Peaches 
  • Pears 
  • Yellow pepper
  • Pineapple
  • Pumpkin 
  • Yellow summer or winter squash 
  • Sweet corn 

Blue foods contain the compound anthocyanin’s that not only give food their color but also have been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and increasing heart health. 

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Purple grapes
  • Figs
  • Raisins
  • Plums, fresh and dried
  • Eggplant

White foods contain properties that have antitumor qualities, such as allicin in onions as well as other health-improving antioxidants such as the flavanoids. The white foods bananas and potatoes contain potassium as well.  

  • Bananas 
  • Onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic 
  • Ginger 
  • Jicama 
  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Turnips

How do I do it? 

Here are some sample menus to get you started!


An orange

Sauté 1/2 red pepper, ½ onion, 2 shitake mushrooms, 2 cloves garlic. Add 3 cups leafy greens (spinach leaves are fine) and 3 eggs. Cook until eggs are done and serve. 


1 cup blueberries and cantaloupe


Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with sprouts, lettuce, tomato slices, avocado and grated carrots. Serve with a 2-cup salad made with romaine lettuce and raw cauliflower, broccoli and garbanzo beans.


Jicama slices with salsa and Celery with hummus or peanut or almond butter


Grilled fish or chicken breast or black beans and brown rice (together beans and rice make a complete protein)

Coleslaw made with green and red cabbage with red onions and grated carrots

Baked yam



Oatmeal made with cubed butternut squash or pureed pumpkin, topped with raw walnut pieces and raw pumpkin seeds


Pineapple chunks and banana slices


Spinach salad topped with black olives, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, and cauliflower. Add beans or chicken if you like. Toss with fresh lemon juice and either olive oil or flax oil or a combination of the two. Sprinkle fresh parsley, chopped, on top.


Raw veggies with your favorite dip, such as hummus. 


Pasta primavera made with spinach fettuccini, sautéed red peppers, onions, garlic, zucchini, carrots, and whatever else is in season.


Tangerine slices with herb tea.

Remember that you need 5-9 cups of vegetables and fruits a day for good health. Make sure at least half of your veggies are raw. Don’t forget that juicing can incorporate many colored fruits and veggies easily and may be a good choice for those who may not be able to chew raw fruits and veggies.