One thing I’ve noticed in recent years is that when I tell our patients with the sniffles to go get extra rest and eat foods that boost their immune system, they usually say “You mean drink some orange juice?” Well sure, orange juice has its merits, but what I really mean is to go to the store and pick up all those cherished items that grandma used to put in soup and make you eat when you were feeling funky.
I suspect these treasured secrets have been lost over time for most people, and so I wanted to give a small run down on the magic of food and how impactful the right foods can be for your body. Let’s take a ride on the edible rainbow!.
Kicking things off with white (it’s almost Memorial Day, so we can fashionably go there). The foods that are white in color are helpful for heart health, lowering cholesterol and boosting immune system function. I should mention this is primarily ‘real’ food, so anything you purchase in a box would be outside of this color/health system. For your white foods think garlic (natural anti-biotic), onions or turnips (okay that one gets a yuck from me, but your friends at the Root Cellar know just how to cook them up, so give them a ring to find out how).
Red foods are amazing for your body; they are good for your heart and circulation. I have always found it amazing that certain food resemble the organ/system they impact. For example, I think strawberries have a rather heart-like shape (the heart organ that is) and the same for a red pepper. You will also find that your urinary tract benefits from red foods (adding beets and raspberries to the list), and finally in the red category of benefit, your memory is impacted.
Yellow and orange foods are better known for most of us. We know eating carrots helps with eye sight (and you are correct). Carrots are an awesome source of Vitamin A. Have you ever cut a carrot in half and looked at the veggie from the front? It is amazing that the inside of the carrot looks like an eye. I love how nature works! Also interesting is that Vitamin A is different from most other vitamins because the more you ‘break it down’ the more concentrated it gets, meaning carrot juice has more vitamin A than a fresh carrot, and cooked carrots even more than juice (I always found that to be weird and cool). These foods are also great for your immune system. This is great news because they are typically very budget-friendly as well.
Green foods are our foundation foods: healthier bones, teeth and vision are all effected by those awesome green trees (aka broccoli) you have been forcing your kiddos to eat. When you told them they had to eat the greens to get taller, you were spot on.
Blue and purple foods improve memory, urinary tract, joints and reduce inflammation over your entire body. Keep in mind that you can always opt for frozen if these are out of season or looking pricey. Blueberries and blackberries blend nicely into a smoothie (remember to add some fresh ginger for kick and even more for immune system boosting).
I hope you found some of that helpful. I keep a little food color chart on our fridge because it helps to educate our children on what is healthy and impactful on their body.