Brooke’s Post: What Colors Did You Eat Today?

fullsizerender-7What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of a farmers’ market? For me, one of the first words is color. Every single time I stroll down the market way I can’t help but be drawn in by the magnificent colors. It is true that eating a variety of colors will benefit your health and provide you with an array of nutrients. We can thank phytochemicals for this, a chemical compound found naturally in plants, responsible for the colors of food.
Some of my favorite colors to eat are blues, purples, and deep reds. These colors are full of antioxidants that keep the heart healthy and brain function optimal. Orange foods, such as carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato contain vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system functioning.  Phytochemicals in orange foods also act as antioxidants, preventing oxidative damage. Red foods contain a phytochemical called lycopene, this helps protect against certain cancers such as breast and prostate. The king phytochemical is contained in green foods. Green leafy vegetables contain all of the phytochemicals found in other colors. Therefore they contain all of the benefits too. If you were to eat a bowl of spinach you would be benefiting not only from the phytochemicals in the green foods but all the other colors too. So next time you are at the farmers market make sure to stop by the stand with the crisp green spinach and kale leaves, broccoli, and green beans.
The farmers market is the best place to shop for your bright and beautiful fruits and vegetables. Buying produce at the market is much more beneficial than buying at a store, because you know it is fresh. Have you ever thought about where bananas come from? Or where avocados come from? Because they certainly do not grow in cold climates. So if you’re not from South America where most of our tropical fruits come from, or California where our avocados grow, then you will be receiving your produce weeks maybe even months after it has been picked. Producers will use additives to preserve color, shape, texture and form. By injecting in these additives, this allows for the vegetable to still look great but not necessarily have the nutrients that it once did. We as consumers do not have much choice when it comes to bananas and avocados since local farms cannot grow them. We do however have a choice when it comes to the lettuce we buy, or the tomatoes, broccoli, squash, green beans and so much more. We have the choice to buy the produce fresh, the produce that fuels are body. Buying produce at farmers markets will ensure that you are buying nutrient packed fruits and veggies that are bright and colorful right from the start.

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