New food groups
Can you name the four new food groups? No, not bread, dairy, meat
and blah stuff like that. The new groups are red, orange-yellow,
green and blue-purple, according to Tufts University professor James
Joseph, Ph.D., the scientist who discovered that blueberries make
aging mice smarter.
The work of Joseph and others has turned eating colorful foods into
a hot new diet trend. Admittedly, it's a scientific gimmick to entice
you to eat fruits and vegetables. Still, it's the smartest new eating
idea around, illustrating the amazing power of color to dictate
health choices. The more brilliant and intense a food's pigment,
the greater the food's disease-fighting properties.
The idea is backed up by evidence detailed in two new books: What
Color Is Your Diet? The 7 Colors of Health," by David Heber, M.D.,
of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and "The Color Code: A Revolutionary
Eating Plan for Optimum Health," by Joseph, to be published in March.
It's smart to choose colorful foods
Extensive research shows that eating fruits and vegetables helps
protect against cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure,
asthma, diabetes, cataracts, inflammatory diseases and pulmonary
troubles. The main reason: Pigments in fruits and vegetables contain
phytochemicals, including antioxidants, that act as cancer inhibitors,
cholesterol regulators, anti-inflammatories and brain-cell protectors.
Each fruit and vegetable is a unique package, so you need to eat
a variety to get the broadest spectrum of protection. For example,
eat grapes and blueberries to get purple "anthocyanins," and tomatoes
and corn to get red and yellow "carotenoids." Different antioxidants
protect different organs.
New proof of fruit, vegetable power
The men and women who eat the most fruits and vegetables are 20%
less likely to have heart disease, according to recent research
at Harvard. Adding just one fruit or vegetable a day cuts heart
disease risk by 4%.
In a recent Dutch study of male smokers, those who ate the most
fruit were only half as likely to die of lung cancer as those who
ate the least.
Women who ate 2 1/2 servings of fruits and vegetables daily were
65% less likely to have colorectal cancer than women who ate 1 1/2
servings, according to Swedish research.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is more effective at combating
excess weight than eating less high-fat/high-sugar food, according
to recent research at the State University of New York, Buffalo.
Women who eat at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables
reduce their risk of diabetes by 40% compared with women who don't
regularly eat them daily, according to a study by the federal Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention.
How to get the most
- Choose at least two servings a day from each food color group.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables are as potent as fresh.
- Cooking tomatoes and carrots activates antioxidants.
- When possible, eat the colorful skins, the site of the most
- Always choose the brightest, deepest colors (for example, pick
broccoli that is deep blue-green, not yellowish).
- Ripe fruits and vegetables contain the most antioxidants.
- Juices count. Orange juice in particular is linked to lower
- Dried fruits, notably prunes (dried plums) and raisins have
extremely high concentrations of antioxidants.
- Be sure to indulge in deep-green vegetables; they're the most
neglected of all.
The four new food groups:
Red: Strawberries, cranberries, raspberries,
tomatoes, red grapes, apples, red peppers, beets, cherries, watermelon,
red onions, etc.
Orange-yellow: Carrots, sweet potatoes,
oranges, tangerines, corn, lemons, grapefruit, apricots, citrus
juices, cantaloupe, pumpkins, winter squash (acorn, buttercup),
peaches, mangoes, bananas, papaya, pineapple, nectarines, yellow
Green: Spinach, kale, collard greens, watercress, parsley, mustard
greens, okra, romaine lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus,
artichokes, avocado, green cabbage, kiwi, green peas, green beans,
cucumbers, celery, green onions, leeks, etc.
Blue-purple: Concord grapes, purple grape juice, blueberries, blackberries,
elderberries, figs, raisins, eggplant, purple cabbage, plums, prunes
(dried plums), etc.
Can't or don't eat all of the above types of foods on
a daily basis? Learn more about whole
Get a FREE audio tape on how whole foods help to fight disease
and build radiant health.
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