Power of Yellow & Orange Fruits and Veggies

In many cultures, yellow is the color of happiness and optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring. It’s said that bright colors like yellow can be an instant mood booster. In fact, some fast food restaurants use yellow as the main color in their interior design and logo (you know which one 😉 to signify happiness and full stomach (yellow & orange are appetite stimulants). When I think of yellow, I think of sunflowers, bees, dandelions, and sunshine… Indeed a very uplifting color! Now I think of the beautiful sunflower field at Lochland Botanicals that we visited this summer.

When it comes to food, yellow fruits and vegetables can be a nutritional powerhouse! They’re often packed with antioxidants like carotenoids, Vitamin C and polyphenols. These components help fight inflammations and boost immunity. They’re beneficial to skin, eye, digestive, and heart health. Often times these yellow goodness are also rich in potassium and fibre. (We all know the benefit of fibre to our digestive health!)

Benefits of eating yellow and orange fruits and veggies

  1. Aids in eye health and reduces the risk of macular degeneration of the eye
  2. Reduces the risk of prostate cancer
  3. Lowers blood pressure
  4. Lowers LDL cholesterol
  5. Promotes healthy joints
  6. Promotes collagen formation (healthy skin and digestive lining)
  7. Fights harmful free radicals in the body (antioxidant property)
  8. Encourages pH balance of the body
  9. Boosts immune system
  10. Builds healthier bones by working with calcium and magnesium

What makes them yellow / orange?

Here are the phytonutrients that contribute to the yellow and orange hue in fruits and vegetables:

Beta-carotene

Our body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinol), which is important for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision. It is also an antioxidant which help defend our body against unstable molecules called free radicals.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

These two has very similar chemical structures and often work together to improve our eye health by cancelling out free radicals that are generated when eyes are exposed to oxygen and light (which is normal and happens almost all the time…). Studies also suggest that they’re beneficial to skin health.

Lycopene

Lutein has now been linked to improvements in brain health, cognitive function, memory and even mood. Other than yellow and orange color fruits and vegetables, these carotenoids are also commonly found in dark leafy greens.

The phytonutrients above are all grouped as Carotenoids.

Flavonoids

It has been reported that flavonoids are important for human health because of their antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti‐inflammatory activities.  Besides, studies also suggest that they have potential to improve coronary vasodilatation and prevent LDLs from oxidizing and also showed potential neuroprotective effects. Moreover, flavonoids have been used in the food industry due to their ability to preserve foods, to provide colour and flavour and to make dietary supplements, among other important industrial applications.

Easy ways to add more yellow & orange fruits and veggies in your diets

It’s always best to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies in our diet as minimally processed as possible as (phyto)nutrients like carotenoids and Vitamin C are less stable after exposure to heat. Here’s a coconut yogurt that I mixed with fresh mango and passion fruits – such a quick, refreshing and yummy snack! Love these tropical flavours!

What about adding some corn to the regular pico de gallo and turn it into a delicious corn salsa to top this Buffalo shrimp lettuce wrap? Other than corn, the romaine lettuce and lime in this dish are also rich in carotenoids along with many other nutrients like vitamin C & K, folate, molybdenum & manganese…

Buffalo Shrimp Lettuce Wrap with Corn Salsa

Instead of the regular rice, pasta, potato, or bread as the main starch, why not pairing your protein with some roasted butternut squash instead? Here’s an oven roasted Maple Mustard Salmon with a Butternut Squash & Kale warm salad.

Maple Mustard Salmon with Fall Harvest Salad

Resources:

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