Last week (The Deluxe Pillbox) I wrote about strategies for managing the medicine we take for a variety of health conditions.
Our culture seems to respond to illness with a quest to find “a pill for every ill”. However, we often overlook the powerful preventive medicine represented by our daily diet. In some cases, dietary changes can slow the progress of a disease. A classic example is the benefit of oatmeal to reduce cholesterol.
While only a doctor can suggest the diet that is best for your overall treatment plan, some generalizations can be made. One of the simplest ways to move toward a more healthful diet is to think of a rainbow!
Rainbow Eating is a playful tool to help us fill our plates with a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. It recognizes that each color represents a different group of vitamins, antioxidants and healthy compounds, such as lutein and lycopene. Consider putting one or two new foods on your shopping list to try this week, then gradually expanding your repertoire of food sources.
Red skinned apples, beets, red cabbage, cherries, cranberries, pink grapefruit, red grapes, red peppers, pomegranates, red potatoes, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon
Yellow-skinned apples, apricots, butternut squash, cantaloupe, carrots, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, yellow peppers, persimmons, pineapple, pumpkin, rutabaga, yellow squash, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, tangerines
Green-skinned apples, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, cucumbers, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, lettuce, limes, green onions, peas, green pepper, spinach, zucchini
Blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, figs, plums, prunes, purple grapes, raisins
Bananas, cauliflower, garlic, ginger, jicama, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, turnips
(Of course, some of these foods have the potential to interfere with your medications, so check your medication instructions for any food interactions, such as grapefruit.)
Even though many doctors do not ask us about our diets or direct our food choices for optimum health, there is overwhelming evidence that adding generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, and other plant based food to our diet can decrease our risk of chronic diseases such as stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, some cancers, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Besides, it makes our plates look so stunning!
For more information and sample diet comparisons, visit http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn595w.htm#resources