A varied diet is your best ally for a good health and, in order to ensure our optimal mineral, vitamin, fiber and antioxidant intake, we should eat fruits and vegetables of every color, specialists say. The different types of nutrients that fruits and vegetables contain are indicated by their colors.

Red fruits and vegetables, for the health of the heart 

Red fruits and vegetables owe their color to certain pigments, such as lycopene and anthocyanins. The lycopene, one of the strongest antioxidants, helps in decreasing arterial blood pressure and in maintaining a normal bone structure, has anti-carcinogen properties and protects the brain. Anthocyanins act as antioxidants and have a role in protecting the heart health. 

Red fruits and vegetables: cherries, apples, strawberries, pomegranate, blueberries, raspberry, grapes, beetroot, red pepper, radish, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon, cabbage, onion.

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables support the sight

Carotenoids, among which the beta carotene, an excellent antioxidant, color the food in yellow and orange. Vegetables of these colors are rich in flavonoids, vitamin C and potassium. The organism transforms beta carotene in vitamin A, beneficial for the sight, skin, teeth and bones. Flavonoids help in the prevention of heart diseases and of certain types of cancer. Vitamin C stimulates the absorption of the iron from food, helps in the formation of collagen, essential for skin elasticity. 

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables: apricots, oranges, pineapple, muskmelon, peaches, lemon, mango, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, bell pepper.

Green fruits and vegetables strengthen immunity 

Green fruits and vegetables contain chlorophyll, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, carotenoids and lutein. Consumption of folic acid is very important for pregnant women, helps in preventing congenital defects. Vitamin K is essential for the production of the proteins necessary for blood coagulation. Chlorophyll has an anti oxidative action and helps in fighting anaemia. Magnesium contributes to the health of the bones and to the regulation of the arterial blood pressure. Lutein is an antioxidant that contributes to a healthy sight. Brassicas strengthen immunity, and vegetables with leaves of dark color improve the state of mind.

Green fruits and vegetables: kiwi, avocado, pear, apple, grapes, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, green peas, cucumbers, green beans, artichokes.

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables keep us young

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients, including anthocyanins, resveratrol and vitamin C. Resveratrol has anti-carcinogenic effect, slows down the ageing process, ad protects the cardiovascular system.

Blue/violet fruits and vegetables: grapes, blackcurrant, blackberries, blueberry, figs, plums, eggplant, beetroot. 

White fruits and vegetables helps in preventing strokes

White fruits and vegetables contain potassium, vitamin C, allicin, quercetin. Allicin may be found in garlic and it helps in regulating the arterial blood pressure and in maintaining the cholesterol under control. Quercetin is a flavonoid with anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory action and decreases cholesterol. Allicin and quercetin have anti-carcinogenic properties. Consumption of white fruites and vegetables decreases with 52% the risk of strokes, specialists say. 

White fruits and vegetables: bananas, peaches, pear, cauliflower, garlic, onion, fennel, ginger, leek, cabbage.

In Romania, only 41% of the population eats vegetables daily, according to the Eurostat statistics. Thus, 28,5% of the Romanian people eat a serving of vegetables each day, and 13% at least two servings. In the EU, the largest groups of vegetable consumers are the residents of Ireland and Belgium. 84% of the population of these countries eat vegetables at least once a day.

The World Health Organization argues that an adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables would change the global situation of cardiovascular diseases. WHO recommends a minimum consumption of 400g per day (five servings) for the prevention of certain diseases, such as heart diseases, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

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Text: Nicoleta Pescu