Tufts University professor James Joseph, PhD, would like you to forget about the basic food groups in lieu of a new lineup: red, orange-yellow, green and blue-purple.
While he admits that this is just another way to get you to eat your vegetables, Joseph believes that it's the message that counts: the more glorious the color, the better the food. In The Color Code: A Revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health (Hyperion, 2002), he's on a mission to change people's attitudes about vegetables.
Vibrant color signals that a vegetable harbors potent phytochemicals, including numerous antioxidants. Most veggies, including baby varieties, are also packed with folic acid and potassium, two nutrients vital to women. Next time you cruise the produce aisle, fill your cart with colors.
Phytochemical effect: Fights arthritic pain
Good choices: Strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, tomatoes, red grapes, apples, red peppers, beets, cherries, watermelon, red onions
Phytochemical effect: Promotes heart health
Good choices: Carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges, tangerines, corn, lemons, grapefruit, apricots, citrus juices, cantaloupe, pumpkins, winter squash (acorn, buttercup), peaches, mangoes, bananas, papaya, pineapple, nectarines, yellow onions
Phytochemical effect: Preserves eyesight
Good choices: Spinach, kale, collard greens, watercress, parsley, mustard greens, okra, romaine lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, avocado, green cabbage, kiwi, green peas, green beans, cucumbers, celery, green onions, leeks
Phytochemical effect: Protects the brain
Good choices: Concord grapes, purple grape juice, blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, figs, raisins, eggplant, purple cabbage, plums, prunes (dried plums)