A Palette for Your Palate: Color Me Healthy for World Food Day & Beyond

I have always cooked with colors in mind, because I believe that the dishes you make need to be visually appealing, especially when you are introducing something new at the table. I have written before about the importance of a variety of colors on your plate, but this time I want to link it with cancer, although not necessarily breast cancer. I will focus on that in a later posting.

Several years ago I had a large poster from the American Cancer Society. Here is a mini-version:

As you can see, the foods span the rainbow spectrum, with green probably the predominant color. But there is the orange from carrots & squashes, the red from strawberries & tomatoes, the yellow from bananas, etc. While the note on the larger chart did not say these foods are for all cancers, we all know by now that fresh fruits and vegetables, organic when possible are our best choices for a health-giving diet.

From another source, the Environmental Nutrition Magazine, I received a list of 15 Super Foods for Superior Health. The heading says:

“Here are the true Super Foods, packed with the most protective substances that may guard your heart, keep cancer at bay, boost your bone strength, save your sight, improve your mood, and maybe even help you lose weight.”

This is quite an endorsement for the 15 foods listed below. And other organizations have their list, but as you will see, many of the fruits & veggies listed here are also in the chart above. (I have put an asterisk next to those foods.) The list below came with adjectives to help describe these foods.
For a sample issue, go to www.envirnonmentalnutrition.com/about

1. Amazing Avocados*
2. Brain-Boosting Blueberries
3. Anti-Cancer Brazil Nuts
4. Broccoli Bonanaza*
5. “A” for Butternut Squash
6. Eat More Edamame (green soybeans)
7. Fabulous Flaxseed
8. All Eye son Kale*
9. High-Flying Kiwi Fruit*
10. Lentils Love Your Heart
11. Long Live Onions! *
12. Hurrah for Quinoa
13. Sardine Standouts
14. I Say Tomato
15. Go for Yogurt

I also found a list from an Internet article that was a WedMD Feature. According to Steven Pratt, M.D. author of Superfoods RX: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, when the foods listed below are incorporated as part of your daily diet, “they can stop some of the changes that lead to diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s and some cancers. He researched some of the world’s healthiest diets and came up with this short list, many items of which can be found in the other two lists above. Notice again, that there are many colorful foods on this list:

Pumpkin (squash family)
Tea (Green or Black)

Fibnally, Jonny Bowdon’s Book, 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, which I reviewed a couple of years ago, contains a list of the Experts’ Top Ten. Here is that list for warding off cancer, as well as other diseases:

1. Spinach
2. Kale
3. Broccoli
4. & 5. Blueberries & Blackberries
6. Strawberries
7. Raspberries
8. Cold-water fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, cod, herring)
9. Whey protein
10. Wild game (ex. venison)

As you can see, there is some overlapping, but also some additional foods. Whatever list you latch onto, you will note that it is heavy on fruits & vegetables and light on meats, dairy and grains. My advice to you is to eat a variety of fresh fruits & veggies with a rainbow of colors that represent many different vitamins & minerals that your body needs. Also, eat them fresh or lightly cooked, not fried or highly processed.

Just as the painter mixes & matches his or her colors to get the desired effect, so, too, you can mix & match the colorful foods from Mother Nature to color yourself healthy!

World Food Day emphasizes ending hunger, but I think we need to end hunger by using real food, so that we live longer as well as healthier with healthful foods, such as those listed above.

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