The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
I have a confession. Like any shopper, I get stuck in a rut buying the same items week after week. And while 95% of the food in my cart is healthy and wholesome, the reality is I’m missing out on the full spectrum of health benefits from the rainbow of colors in Heinen’s Produce Department.
“Eating the rainbow” means incorporating all colors of produce into your weekly meals. This strategy is one of the most powerful steps you can take for a healthy heart.
From red, orange and yellow to green, blue and purple, each plant pigment offers different benefits to your body.
The red in tomatoes, beets, watermelon and grapefruit comes from a carotenoid called lycopene.
It helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and several types of cancer, especially those of the lung and prostate.
Snack Idea: Enjoy a handful of surprisingly sweet NatureFresh cherry tomatoes. You’ll swear you’re eating a piece of ripe fruit!
The vibrant orange and yellow of citrus fruit, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash and peppers is attributed to the plant pigment beta carotene. Your body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol), which supports the health of your heart, immune system, skin, eyes and mucus membranes.
Meal Idea: Up your veggie intake by replacing pasta with spaghetti squash in this Spaghetti Squash Marinara, or blend carrots and orange zest into this savory and citrusy Carrot Orange Soup.
Chlorophyll is the primary pigment in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocados and leafy greens like spinach, arugula, microgreens, kale, Swiss chard, collards and dandelion greens.
With its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying properties, chlorophyll has the power to fight common diseases of civilization, like heart disease and cancer. It can also reduce difficulties we typically associate with aging.
Meal Idea: Add greens to homemade soups. Our White Bean Swiss Chard Soup and Chickpea Soup with Kale recipes will become your new favorite!
Red/purple cabbage, purple carrots, eggplant, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all contain anthocyanins. This plant pigment acts as a powerful antioxidant to protect your cells from damage and promote a strong heart and healthful aging. They may also reduce the risk of cancer.
Meal Idea: Drop a handful of fresh raspberries into a container of Culina Bourbon Vanilla plant-based yogurt. Top it with a sprinkle of Go Raw pumpkin seeds and Purely Elizabeth granola and you’ve got yourself a parfait!
If a strong, healthy heart is your goal, I’d like to challenge you to fill your cart with a rainbow of produce on your next trip to Heinen’s. It’s the least you can do to give back to the organ that beats 100,000 times each day to keep you alive.