colorful vegetables

colorful vegetables

In the last Xpress, we learned the value of pickled beets. I would like to jump on that train and talk about the value of all brightly colored vegetables. And that is really because I just found out there is such a thing as purple potatoes!

Yes. I am 53 years old and only just learned that a) there is such a thing as purple potatoes; and b) that there are purple potatoes at my grocery store. They have always been there, but I couldn’t “see” them. I was so accustomed, growing up, to potatoes coming in brown, red and golden, that purple ones literally didn’t register. Thankfully I see, and enjoy them, now.

Each color in vegetables contributes specific healthy nutrients. We realize the greatest benefit from vegetables when we take in a full array of those colors, as frequently as possible. Frequent intake of the full array is now directly related to reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer. Here is a rundown of each color.

Red: lycopene, betalains, and ellagic acid. Found in: tomatoes, beets, red bell peppers, kidney beans, red onions.

Purple: anthocyanins and resveretrol. Found in: eggplant, purple kale (which often appears very dark green), and purple varieties of cabbage, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower.

Yellow: vitamin C, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids. Found in: carrots, sweet potatoes winter squash, yellow summer squash, corn, orange and yellow peppers, golden beets.

Green: lutein, chlorophyll, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, vitamin K, and folate. Found in: all green leafy vegetables, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green cabbage, asparagus, green beans, peas and zucchini. Swiss chard frequently has yellow, red or pink/purple ribs, offering the benefits of those colors in addition to its green leaves.

Brown and white: sulforaphane, allicin, quercetin and other flavonoids, anthoxanthins. Found in: potatoes, garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, parsnips, mushrooms, cauliflower, white varieties of celery and asparagus, kohlrabi, radishes, Napa cabbage, squash, fennel, and turnips.