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Eat the Rainbow! What are Phytonutrients?

October 16, 2019

 

Connecting color with food can be a simple and powerful source of joy. When you have all the colors on your plate, you are incorporating important phytonutrients, and these can be powerful defenders of our health.

 

In a plant, these phytonutrients provide protection from bugs, pests, and stressors from the environment. They also give the plant color and their distinct taste and smell. A green piece of lettuce doesn’t smell or taste the same as a green piece of arugula.

 

For us humans, the veggies and fruit we consume have these phytonutrients which stimulates different enzymes that can help our body get rid of toxins, boost our immune system, and help our intestines (just to name a few).

 

So where can we find these precious defenders of health? Fruits and veggies have rich sources, but you can also find them in whole grains, legumes, spices, nuts, seeds and teas.

 

Phytonutrient-rich foods come in all the colors of the rainbow. Remember ROY-G-BIV from elementary school astronomy? Red sweet bell peppers, orange persimmons, yellow summer squash, green snow peas, blue blueberries, indigo potatoes, and violet figs.

 

Eating the rainbow can be fun. Aim to eat one fruit or veggie from one of the colors each day. 

 

Now let’s just start with breakfast. What colors are you serving on your plate?

 

The typical breakfast menu includes waffles, pancakes, cereal, sausage, and eggs. But where’s the color? Would a smoothie work for your morning start? 

 

If you had a smoothie with blueberries, strawberries, a banana, flax seeds, and almond butter, you would have 4 different colors. This would be a great start for the rest of your day.

 

Try this new recipe: Perfectly Purple Almond Butter Smoothie to start your morning on the right track.

 

Did you Know? 

 

Ground flax is more nutritious than whole flax seeds, because with ground flax, the body has an easier time absorbing the anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids from the seed? 

 

Green bananas (under-ripe) are rich in resistant starches, which are food for the bacteria. These bacteria turn the resistant starch into butyrate, which is an important nutrient for keeping our intestine wall lining healthy, and for supporting our immune system.