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Shop the Rainbow

Incorporating healthy eating habits is important for your immediate and long-term health. The Weight and Wellness Program at Tufts Medical Center has shared tips to help you successfully navigate your farmers market and leave with a bounty of nutritious options.

The different colors in fruits and vegetables indicate different phytonutrients in that food. Phytonutrients provide flavor and act as an antioxidant, which can reduce cell damage and prevent cancer. If your shopping bag has many colors, then you are getting a healthy variety of phytonutrients for optimal health. See the list below to match your food with its color and phytonutrients.

RED: contains lycopene, quercetin, and hesperidin, which can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lower blood pressure, and scavenge harmful free radicals. Examples include: apples, watermelon, red peppers, radishes, and strawberries.

GREEN: contains chlorophyll, zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene which inhibit the action of carcinogens (substances that can lead to cancer). Examples include: green peppers, dark leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, watercress.

YELLOW: contains lutein and zeaxanthin which reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration—the leading cause of vision loss. Examples include: yellow squash, pineapple, banana and lemon.

ORANGE: contains beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and flavenoids which lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, fight harmful free radicals, and repair damaged DNA. Examples include: orange pepper, cantaloupe, carrots and sweet potatoes.

PURPLE/BLUE: contains anthocyanins and phenolics which are powerful antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancers, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Examples include: eggplant, blackberries, red onion, red cabbage, grapes, and figs.

WHITE: Don’t forget about the white vegetables! Cauliflower, mushrooms and onions contain beta-glucans, flavenoids that strengthen our killer T and B cells that support our immunity against disease.

To schedule an appointment with a registered dietician and learn more about healthy eating, call 617-636-6086. If you have any questions for your AYA Survivorship care team, please don’t hesitate to contact us at ayaprogram@tuftsmedicalcenter.org.


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