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A brown and beige diet may taste great but it does not provide anywhere near the amount vital nutrients the body needs.  Brown and beige Foods lack the vibrant colors that make up a nourishing diet. Brown and beige foods do have nutrition.  A potato, for example, is packed with Vitamin C and potassium but a colorful diet provides so much more vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are key plant compounds, which play an essential role in disease prevention.

These substances occur naturally only in plants and may provide health benefits beyond those isolated essential nutrients that one may find in a typical multivitamin for example. Color, such as what makes Pomegranates red, Carrots orange, Apricots yellow, Kale Green and a Blueberry blue, can indicate some of these substances, which are thought to work synergistically with vitamins, minerals, and fiber in plant based whole foods to promote good health and lower disease risk.

To Green Your Diet, Add Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals like Flavonoids, Flavonols, Anthocyanins, Proanthocyanidins, Organic Acids and Tannins may act as antioxidants, protect cells and regenerate essential nutrients, and/or work to deactivate cancer-causing substances. Research has given information on the benefits of these substances but it has not yet determined exactly how they work together.  Nevertheless, including a rainbow of colored foods in a diet plan ensures a variety of those nutrients and phytochemicals.

Fruits and Vegetables are sources for phytochemicals of which there are thousands that have been identified.  These chemicals are known to have disease-preventing properties, but the color of a food does not necessarily mean it contains one particular phytochemical class. Foods contain multiple phytochemicals, as well as vitamins and minerals, and it is not known how many other phytochemicals await to be identified and what functions they have with health.

Nutrients and phytochemicals appear to work synergistically, so maintaining a varied, colorful diet with healthful plant based whole foods is a pragmatic approach to optimal nutrition.  On Average, we eat the same weight of food every day.  If this amount is weighted more heavily in the “brown and beige” direction then we are eating less than five servings per day of Fruits and Vegetables when it should be upward of seven to thirteen servings for most adults.  Subsequently, many consumers could be unknowingly missing out on a gold mine of disease prevention, putting them at an increased risk.

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