Our next color on the Eat the Rainbow series is Orange! Now, I know what you're thinking...you're just thinking of oranges, aren't you? Well there's a lot more than oranges that have the same color trait and carry exciting nutritional value.
Fruits and veggies in the orange color category are known for having high levels of Vitamin C, A, K and potassium. All of which have major health benefits improving overall vitality. Some of the benefits of these vitamins and minerals are:
Take a look at our list below to see what the featured orange fruits and veggies you can add to your daily meals are and what benefits they have for your body.
1. Oranges -
In season: November through January
Yes, we'll start with the obvious because they are rich in Vitamin C, as we all know. But did you know it's full of phytonutrients and Vitamin A which help protect against cancer. 1
2. Apricots -
In season: May through July, but dried are available year-round
A great source of potassium and fiber. These tiny but mighty are great for on-the-go snacks because they're extremely nutritious. Full of Vitamin C and E, apricots are beneficial for eye and skin health. 2
3. Mangoes -
In season: June and July are peak season
Known as the "King of Fruits" in some parts of the world, mangoes boast an impressive profile being chalked full of nutrients. "In fact, studies link mangoes and their nutrients to health benefits, such as improved immunity, digestive health and eyesight, as well as lower risk of certain cancers." 3
4. Carrots -
In season: Year-round
This root vegetable is often considered the perfect health food. "It is crunchy, tasty, and highly nutritious. Carrots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. They also have a number of health benefits. They’re a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health. What’s more, their carotene antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer." 4
5. Spaghetti Squash -
In season: October through January, but available year-round
A versatile squash that is a great pasta substitute. Spaghetti squash mimics the stringy-ness of spaghetti but has a lot more nutrients! Full of Vitamin C, B6, beta carotene, fiber, and antioxidants that help fight free radicals from air pollution that we breathe in every day. 5
6. Cantaloupe -
In season: June through August
Besides being an incredibly refreshing fruit, especially when served cold, this watermelon-like, semi-sweet fruit packs "100% of the daily value for vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from damage...All your daily need for vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes, skin, bones, and immune system healthy...and...is also full of vitamins and minerals like folic acid, zinc, calcium, copper and iron." 6
7. Pumpkin -
In season: October through November
Not just for carving Jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkins are particularly rich in Vitamin A. "Studies show that vitamin A can strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. Conversely, people with a vitamin A deficiency can have a weaker immune system" 7
8. Sweet Potato -
In season: Harvested September through October, but available year-round
The underdog of gut health. Sweet potatoes are high in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber softens stool and absorbs water which is great for regularity in bowel movements. While insoluble fiber can be fermented in the colon fueling the cells of your intestinal lining, keeping them strong and healthy. 8
Your homework for this weekend is to try and incorporate something orange and red on your plate for each meal. Some ideas can look like breakfast sweet potato hash with red bell pepper, lunch with a side of apricot and tomato, and for dinner a spaghetti squash pasta with a beet goat cheese salad. Be creative and feel free to use fruits or veggies not mentioned.
This series is meant to help inspire new ideas on getting that rainbow on your plate to get the most well-rounded nutrition out of each meal.
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