Celebrate the 4th of July with colorful produce
We will all be celebrating the 4th of July soon enough, and picnics, cookouts and family gatherings will be the norm. Let’s celebrate the nutrition in red, white and blue produce as well while we plan 4th of July menus around red, white and blue fruits and vegetables. Here is a rundown on the health benefits from these colorful foods.
RED produce – the red pigment protects the heart and vascular system, and may reduce cancer risk. Good sources include:
- Red tomatoes, red bell peppers
- Watermelon, raspberries, strawberries, cherries
WHITE produce – some white produce contains the mineral potassium to help control our blood pressure. The cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower and onions protect against cancer cell development. Good sources include:
- Cauliflower, white and yellow onions, white potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini
- White-on-the-inside fruits: bananas, apples, pears
BLUE produce – the natural blue pigmentation may improve memory as well protect the heart. Good sources include:
- Blueberries, plums, grapes
I am certain that you hear about the many health benefits from produce, and as we say, the more colorful the better. Eat like the rainbow – a variety of colors will do the trick.
We just focused on the July 4th traditional colors of red, white and blue but don’t forget about other colorful produce:
- Purple cabbage and grapes
- Orange carrots, apricots, peaches, oranges, sweet potatoes, butternut and acorn squash
- Green kiwi, greens and broccoli
These colorful plant substances protect us from cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, various cancers, and high blood pressure. Plus the natural fiber in them helps us manage weight.
As you plan your 4th of July picnics, the menus might include red skin potato salad, grilled red, yellow and green peppers, marinated onion and tomato salad, wedges of watermelon, and fresh berry cobbler.
About the Author
Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.