Think “Rainbow” When Choosing Your Vegetables

At some time or another, all of us get stuck in a rut with meals. It happens to the best of us — we make the same meals over and over again. Or we vary the meals, but serve the same vegetables again and again and again. That can make meal time a tough sell.

Potatoes and Vegetables1There’s a very good reason to vary the vegetables you eat each day — phytochemicals. There are an estimated 4,000-plus phytochemicals produced by plants and each of them benefits the body in a different way. Phytochemicals are typically grouped by color — although color is not an absolute indicator of the beneficial compounds in the fruit or vegetable. But categorizing veggies by color does make it easier on you — just remember to eat a rainbow of fresh fruits and veggies each day.

Below is a list of fruits and vegetables (by color) and their potential health benefits, based on information from the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH). For a more complete list of specific phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables, view the PBH’s list of phytochemicals.

Because we’re fans of Wisconsin potatoes, we’ve also provided a potato recipe for each color group that you can enjoy.

Health Benefits of Eating Blue/Purple Fruits and Vegetables.

  • Improved blood vessels and cardiovascular health
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • May be linked to preventing certain cancers
  • Lower risk for asthma
  • Urinary tract infection prevention

Recipe. Wisconsin Potato Wedge Melange with Bacon Walnut Butter. A virtual rainbow — contains red, yellow and purple potatoes.

Health Benefits of Eating Green Fruits and Vegetables.

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Prevents certain cancers
  • Lower risk for asthma
  • Decreases your risk for heart disease
  • Vision health
  • Improved immune system
  • Healthy skin and bones

Recipe. Lemon Potatoes with Peas and Spinach. Features yellow potatoes, peas and spinach.

Health Benefits of Eating White Fruits and Vegetables.

  • Prevents some types of cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory

Recipe. Poached Egg on a Crispy Bed of Potatoes, Bacon and Avocado, Topped with a Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise. Combines white potatoes with avocado, onions and lime.

Health Benefits of Eating Yellow/Orange Fruits and Vegetables.

  • Helps prevent certain cancers
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Vision health
  • Healthy skin and bones

Recipe. Tahiri. Yellow potatoes with tomatoes, onion, green onions and garlic.

Health Benefits of Eating Red Fruits and Vegetables.

  • Improved blood vessels and cardiovascular health
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Healthy lungs
  • Urinary tract infection prevention
  • May be linked to preventing certain cancers, especially prostate cancer
  • Lower risk for asthma

Recipe. Potato & Parmesan Herb Stuffed Acorn Squash. Features acorn squash and red potatoes with shallots.


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