Healthy Eating comes in many Colors: Why Fruits and Vegetables are so Important for your Health and Performance

Posted: Tuesday, 28 February 2012 by Strength&Nutrition24/7 in Labels: ,

Quick tip: for optimal health, body composition and performance, eat a lot of vegetables and fruit from a full spectrum of colours.

Healthy reasons to eat a rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables

There are so many reasons to eat from a variety of colors, textures, and tasting vegetables and fruits. Besides just brightening up you plate, adding a little variety to your diet, and getting the occasional wow from your friends, there is numeral health benefits. These health benefits can have an impact not only on your general health, but also impact on your athletic performance. When eating fruits and vegetable from a plethora of colors you will give your body a wide range of essential nutrients, like thiamine, fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Some examples include green spinach, orange peppers, black beans, yellow corn, purple eggplant, pomegranates, and white onions.

It is important to note phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables into account. These substances, are only found in 

natural produce, and are so important to human health. With the enormous amount of phytochemicles and the continual findings of new ones which seem to work synergistically, makes it incredibly difficult to be consumed from supplements. 
some of the most important phytochemicals found in fresh produce are the pigments.

Why are these nutrients important?
Important for people who exercise for several consecutive days

Has been shown to have numerable benefits including decreased risk of coronary artery disease and colon cancer.

Important in nucleic acid and amino acid metabolism suggesting that deficiencies in highly trained athletes may affect performance. Diets with adequate folate has shown to reduce woman’s risks of having a child with brain or spinal cord defects.

Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Potassium is involved in nerve function, muscle control and blood pressure. Athletes also may need more potassium to replace that lost from muscle during exercise and the smaller amount lost in sweat. Low potassium can cause muscle cramping and cardiovascular irregularities.

Vitamin A
Keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.

Vitamin C
Helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy.

Bonus quick tip: a good way to add variety and get the full benefit of what God has made is to try new fruits and vegetable regularly.

A quick look at advantages of different coloured fruit
Red Fruits and Vegetables:

These are coloured by natural plant pigments called "lycopene" or "anthocyanins." Lycopene in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit, for example, may help reduce risk of several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Anthocyanins in strawberries, raspberries, red grapes and other fruits and vegetables act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage.

Orange/Yellow Fruits and Vegetables:

These are usually colored by natural plant pigments called "carotenoids." Beta-carotene in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Scientists have also reported that carotenoid-rich foods can help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and can improve immune system function. Citrus fruits like oranges are not a good source of vitamin A. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate.

Green fruits and vegetables 

These are colored by natural plant pigment called "chlorophyll." Some members of the green group, including spinach and other dark leafy greens, green peppers, peas, cucumber and celery, contain lutein. Lutein works with another chemical, zeaxanthin, found in corn, red peppers, oranges, grapes and egg yolks to help keep eyes healthy. Together, these chemicals may help reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness if untreated. The "indoles" in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables may help protect against some types of cancer. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of folate

Blue/purple fruits and vegetables 

These are coloured by natural plant pigments called "anthocyanins." Anthocyanins in blueberries, grapes and raisins act as powerful antioxidants that protect cells from damage. They may help reduce risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. Other studies have shown that eating more blueberries is linked with improved memory function and healthy aging.

White fruits and vegetables

These are coloured by pigments called "anthoxanthins." They may contain health-promoting chemicals such as allicin, which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and may help reduce risk of stomach cancer and heart disease. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are good sources of the mineral potassium, too.


  • Antonio, Jose. Essentials of sports nutrition and supplements. Totowa, NJ:   Humana Press, 2008. Print
  • Reinhard, Tonia. Superfoods: the healthiest foods on the planet. Buffalo, N.Y.: Firefly Books, 2010. Print
  • What color is your food? Taste a rainbow of fruits and vegetables for better health Revised 2009 (reviewed and reprinted may 2011) Julie Garden Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist