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A Rainbow of Produce

Everyday Food, January 2008

The Greens
This assortment of vegetables runs the gamut from artichokes, asparagus, and broccoli to leafy greens, such as spinach and kale. Asparagus and artichokes are good sources of rutin, which maintains a healthy circulatory system. Leafy greens contain lutein, shown to be beneficial to eye health. And broccoli and cabbage are rich in cancer-fighting compounds.

The Yellows and Oranges
Beta-carotene is the source of the sunny color of carrots, yellow bell peppers, oranges, and sweet potatoes. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system.

The Reds
Red bell peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit contain lycopene, a carotenoid known to help prevent heart disease and certain cancers. Red bell peppers have more than twice the vitamin C of their green counterparts.

The Purples and Blues
Members of this group, such as beets, purple grapes, plums, blackberries, blueberries, and purple eggplant, owe their color to anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that may help ward off short-term memory loss and some age-related diseases.

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