New York: Want to keep the flu at bay? Well, then make your immune system stronger by having colourful fruits and vegetables, says an expert.
Health/wellness expert Amy Hendel says that in addition to vitamins, minerals and fiber, fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients, believed to come from the compounds that give these foods their vibrant colours.
These phytonutrients provide a wide range of health benefits, including supporting a healthy immune system.
A study, America’s Phytonutrient Report, found eight in 10 Americans are missing out on the health benefits of a diet rich in colourful fruits and veggies, resulting in a phytonutrient gap.
The report looked at fruit and vegetable consumption in five colour categories, specifically green, red, white, blue/purple and yellow/orange, and the phytonutrients found in each colour category.
Eating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables is one way to help keep the keep the body healthy. Foods in the red category are especially helpful to our immune systems, in addition to supporting heart health.
Tomatoes, pomegranate, red cabbage, cranberries, even pink grapefruit provide the phytonutrients lycopene and ellagic acid.
The health benefits of foods in the yellow/orange category support a health immune function too along with vision and heart health. And they help maintain skin hydration—important as we head into these cold, dry months.
These foods pro-vide beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, quercetin and other phytonutrients that can be converted into Vitamin A. Delicious and nutritious yellow/orange fruits and vegetables available now include: carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and pi-neapple.
For optimal health, aim to eat two foods from each of the 5 colour categories – green, red, white, blue/purple and orange/yellow – for a total of 10 servings each day.