Fill Your Plate with the Colors of Fall

The harvest season brings forth nature’s best. Fall’s abundant harvest makes this season the easiest time of the year to fill your plate with a wide variety of colorful, nutritious vegetables and fruits.

Phytonutrients give plants their unique color, texture, and smell, and they contribute to their vitamin and mineral components. They are naturally occurring chemicals that protect plants from germs, bugs, and the sun’s harmful rays. When we eat plants, we ingest their phytonutrients and absorb these protective attributes against chronic diseases.

Eating healthy is easier when you know the varying benefits of the wide array of fruits and vegetables available fresh this fall. The more color on the plate, the greater the variety and volume of nutrients.  Choose one to three servings from each color group listed below. Mix and match fruits and vegetables in combinations that appeal to your taste and lifestyle.

Red fruits and vegetables contain powerful nutrients that help fight cancer and may help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

In season:

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Cranberries
  • Pomegranates
  • Red Peppers

Orange and yellow fruits & vegetables are rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene, and they help promote blood flow.

In season:

  • Acorn Squash
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Yellow Zucchini

Green vegetables contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as vitamin K and folate. They boost immunity, help with detoxification and elimination, and restore energy

In season:

  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Zucchinis

Purple & blue fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that fight cancer and help decrease inflammation.  The bio-active phytonutrients work to repair cell damage from oxidative stress.

In season:

  • Eggplants
  • Plumes
  • Prunes
  • Red Cabbage

White & Brown vegetables may help protect against some cancers, aid in keeping bones strong, and promote a strong immune system.

In season:

  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips

All fruits and vegetables are beneficial to human health in one way or another. Knowing the intrinsic properties each color represents provides knowledge to choose an array of colorful fruits and vegetables to maximize health.

About the Writer

Kelley Rakow, Health and Lifestyle Coach

Sources:

Fruit and Vegetable Intake and the Risk of Disease

Relationship Between Color and Antioxidant Capacity of Fruits and Vegetables

What Should I Eat? The Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health

Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables, National Institute of Health

Nutritive Value of Foods

Information presented by W(h)ealth should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor and/or medical professional before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.