These meals and snacks offer everything we should be looking for in food: whole, low-carb, brightly colored, fresh and healthful. Why is it so important to “eat the whole rainbow” as we’ve so often been told? Because deep, richly colored food generally implies the presence of antioxidants. Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances that block oxidation, the chemical reaction by which free radicals are formed. Free radicals damage the cells in our bodies, and can potentially lead to such bad outcomes as heart disease. stroke and cancer. Examples of antioxidant compounds include: vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene (yellow and orange), lycopene (reds), lutein (greens), anthocyanins (blues and purples) and many others.
Antioxidants are present in a wide variety of foods, in particular fruits and vegetables, vegetable oils, legumes and nuts.
Repeatedly, well-designed clinical trials have shown that individuals consuming diets rich in antioxidants, primarily in the form of fruits and vegetables, enjoy lower risk of various cancers and vascular disease. There are many properties of fruits and vegetables which may account for this. But chief among them are antioxidants, and their innate ability to preserve proper cell health and functioning.
So go ahead and enjoy these whole, delicious foods, knowing that they contain some of the most important, disease-fighting compounds we can put into our bodies. Remember to eat the whole rainbow! Have a great night!
Laura Fitzpatrick, M.D.