Have you ever wondered why fruits and vegetables come in so many colors? How we experience food, the colors, smells and taste are all the results of phytonutrients or ‘plant nutrients’. These plant nutrients, not only give the produce its color, but they protect plants from germs, bugs, the sun’s harmful rays, and other threats. These protective properties are passed on to us when we consume whole food sources of plant nutrients. The color of fruits and vegetables give us a clue as to the specific nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies.
For example, red fruits and vegetable can help us fight certain types of cancer, reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, improve skin quality.
Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables can improve immune function, reduce the risk of heart disease and promote eye health and cell growth.
Green fruits and vegetables boost the immune system, help detoxify the body, and restore energy and vitality.
Blue and purple sources help us to maintain our youth, rid our bodies of inflammation and help fight cancer.
White and brown produce are a heart healthy source that help keep bones strong.
Eating an array of colorful fruits and vegetables are so important to maintaining optimal health. Yet, according to research 8 out of 10 people don’t get enough of these important plant nutrients. Create your own color palette salad plate with your favorite vegetables and fruits or try my recipe below…
- 10 oz bag baby spinach
- 4 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 5 radishes, chopped
- 1 medium english cucumber, chopped
- 1 medium, avocado, chopped
- 1 cup purple cabbage
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/3 cup cilantro, optional
Green Goddess Dressing
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped green onions
- 1 tbsp tarragon leaves roughly chopped
- 1 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 pinch fresh ground pepper
- Chop the carrots, yellow pepper, radishes, cucumber, avocado, purple cabbage and cherry tomatoes. Add spinach or any green of your choice to a large bowl. Place toppings on salad then add dressing when you are ready to eat. I added fresh cilantro on the top of my salad, this is optional!
- To make the dressing: In a food processor or blender, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, water, avocado, parsley, green onions, tarragon, garlic, salt and a pinch of black pepper. Blend starting at a low speed and slowly increase to medium, until dressing is smooth, pause a few times to scrape down the sides as necessary.
- When you are ready to eat, drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss until the salad is lightly coated in dressing. Serve immediately.
Here are some examples of fruit and vegetables you can substitute for your own salad…
Red: raspberries, watermelon, apples, cranberries, cherries, grapes, red onions, beets, pomegranate.
Orange & yellow: oranges, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, corn, golden beets, pineapple, peaches.
Green: broccoli, kale, green onion, kiwi, zucchini, green apples, asparagus, Swiss chard, peas, Arugula, green beans.
Blue & purple: blueberries, blackberries, red (purple) grapes, egg plant, figs.
White & brown: bananas, cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, onion, mushrooms.