Follow the rainbow to your health

Posted by Pamela Franz, R.N.
April 12, 2016

Follow the Rainbow

Instead of finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, like we were all told as children, what if you could find something even better? That something is your health. As we get older, we realize that our health can be worth more than a pot of gold, especially if we are confronted with a health concern or become sick.

It’s never too late to become healthier, and an important part of getting there is to eat healthier. Did you know that by eating a rainbow of colors of fruits and vegetables you can protect your health against such diseases as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and even poor eye sight? The different colors of fruits and vegetables provide you with powerful antioxidants that can boost your immune system and provide protection.

So what determines the color of the fruit or vegetable? The part of the fruit or vegetable you eat determines the color. For example, a watermelon would be red, because you don’t eat the outer rind. A green apple would be green, because you can eat the green skin.

Here is what eating the rainbow of colors can do for you:

  • Red fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and diabetes, along with inhibiting the formation of cholesterol in blood.
  • Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain beta carotene, known for playing a vital role in maintaining healthy eyesight and night vision.
  • Green fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that are shown to protect the retina in the eye and preserve vision and prevent blindness.
  • White, tan and brown fruits and vegetables help maintain heart health and lower the risk of certain cancers.
  • Blue and purple fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce cholesterol levels, help prevent atherosclerosis, support blood flow and can help fight the onset of glaucoma.

So instead of trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, eat the colors of the rainbow and find your health.

Fruit kabob recipe

You will need:

  • Eight-inch lollipop or skewer sticks
  • An assortment of rainbow colored fruit   
    • Red — strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, cherries
    • Orange — oranges, cantaloupe, mango
    • Yellow — pineapple, bananas, peaches
    • Green — grapes, kiwi, honeydew melon
    • Blue — blueberries, blackberries
    • Purple — grapes, plums 
  • Tray for display (or cut a large piece of cantaloupe to place sticks or skewers into)

Directions: Wash and dry fruit. Cut bigger fruits into 1-inch pieces, and start to skewer layering the colors. This recipe can easily be changed by adding veggies or cheese. Delicious!

Pamela Franz is a registered nurse who works in Weight Management at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.

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