Summer is the Perfect Time to Color your Plate

The beautiful summer season presents a welcome opportunity for eating a bouquet of colorful fruits and vegetables, many of which are packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties.


Red produce usually gets its color from natural plant pigments called “lycopene” and “anthocyanins.” According to research reported by NDSU and the American Cancer Society, a number of studies have linked a diet high in lycopene to a lower risk of certain cancers. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that may help prevent cell damage. Load up on these nutrients by eating tomatoes, red apples, beets, cranberries, cherries, red grapes, pomegranates, red potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, and strawberries.


Orange and yellow produce gets its color from “carotenoids.” Add these nutrients to your meals by incorporating apricots, butternut squash, cantaloupe, carrots, lemons, oranges, nectarines, persimmons, pumpkin, corn, tangerines, and sweet potatoes.


Green produce gets its color from a plant pigment called “chlorophyll,” but many green vegetables contain other nutrients, such as lutein or the B vitamin folate. Ensure that you get a wide variety of green fruits and vegetables in your diet by adding green apples, peas, zucchini, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, kiwi, lettuce, limes, green beans, and leafy greens like spinach and green cabbage.


Similar to red produce, blue and purple fruits and veggies get their color from anthocyanins. These powerful antioxidants may prevent cell damage, and may help decrease your risk of certain cancers, stroke, and heart disease. Add these nutrients to your meal with figs, blackberries, blueberries, plums, eggplant, raisins, and purple grapes.


White produce contains pigments called “anthoxanthins,” and some white fruits and vegetables also provide a good source of the mineral potassium. Potassium is a key nutrient that is involved in the proper functioning of all cells, tissues, and organs. White foods high in potassium include bananas, potatoes, and white beans, although you can also find potassium in foods of other colors, such as apricots and broccoli. Other nutritious white foods to add to your meal include onions, mushrooms, parsnips, turnips, ginger, garlic, and cauliflower.

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