Carotenoids are the powerful phytochemical in orange foods, and they are what give the foods their color. Carotenoids repair DNA and help prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as strengthening our vision. These orange foods also give us the right amount of vitamin A, which keeps our eyes and skin healthy, and protects against infections. They are also known to boost the immune system. Some of these also cross over with the health benefits of the yellow foods also.
The blue, purple and indigo foods are great for their anti-aging properties. These foods have tons of antioxidants, which are called anthocyanins and phenolics. They help improve circulation and prevent blood clots, so they are great for the heart and can help prevent heart disease. They are also known to help memory function and urinary tract health and to reduce free radical damage.
The phytochemicals in red foods are carotenoids and anthocyanins. One of the most abundant carotenoid is lycopene. Lycopene helps reduce damage from free radicals in your body and it also prevents heart disease, cancer, prostrate problems, and reduces the skin damage from the sun. These red foods help memory function, urinary tract health, and makes your heart healthy.
Yellow foods are high in antioxidants like vitamin C. Vitamin C keeps our teeth and gums healthy, helps to heal cuts, improves the mucus membranes (like when we have colds), helps to absorb iron, prevents inflammation, improves circulation, and therefore prevents heart disease. Some of the darker ones also cross over with the health benefits of orange foods.
Green fruits & vegetables have the phytochemicals sulforaphane and indoles, which both prevent cancer. They are also good for the circulatory system and have good vitamin B and minerals. Green vegetables also help with vision, and with maintaining strong bones and teeth. Some of the yellower green vegetables have carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that help to prevent cataracts and eye disease, as well as osteoporosis.
The strong phytochemical in these whitish/greenish vegetables is called allicin, and it is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral chemical. Some white foods prevent cancer and heart disease, and lower cholesterol levels. Celery is often dubbed as a useless vegetable because it has no calories, but it does have minerals like good sodium that help keep the joints healthy. Also, the selenium in mushrooms is healthy as well. This group helps maintain low cholesterol levels in your body as well as a healthy heart.