When it comes to food, we all know that the color green promises vitamins, minerals, and a number of health benefits. However, we also know that the more colorful your plate, the better. This 4th of July, go red, white and blue and turn your plate into a sign of your patriotism!
Tomatoes contain multiple antioxidants including alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and vitamins A, C, and E. They are also rich in potassium, which plays many important roles in our bodies (such as maintaining fluid balance, acid-base balance, and cell integrity). The best thing about tomatoes is how versatile they are. In salads, on sandwiches, in your pasta sauce or chili... you can add them to almost everything. Try pairing them with fresh mozzarella and basil and you’ll feel like you have just gone on an Italian vacation in your backyard.
Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants have been shown to protect your heart, increase HDL cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer. Eat them fresh, add them to your cereal or smoothie, or puree them with some basil and freeze them for a refreshing home-made strawberry sorbet.
Spicy red peppers like chili contain many phytochemicals which have antioxidant abilities. They are also rich in vitamin A and C, fiber, folate, vitamin K, and minerals. Additionally studies have shown that adding some spice to your food can help you burn calories better and curb appetite. You don’t have to go tongue-torching, eye-popping spicy, a little goes a long way!
Almased improves your metabolism and energy levels and helps you burn fat while retaining muscle mass and helps maintain a healthy blood glucose level and thyroid function. Mix it in water, skim milk, almond or soy milk and add extracts like vanilla and lemon or unsweetened cocoa powder to give it the flavor you like. Almased is a great source of high-quality protein and has a low-glycemic index.
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. It also contains probiotics, which help your digestive system, and has twice as much protein as regular yogurt and its thicker, creamier consistency helps you feel full faster. Opt for the plain, non- or low-fat variety and mix it with fresh fruit, granola, sunflower seeds or a teaspoon of honey and some cinnamon. You can also use Greek yogurt in an ice cream maker and make a refreshing, low-cal summer dessert.
Cauliflower contains glucosinolates, which give it that pungent flavor and smell. This activates the body’s detoxification system. It is also rich in vitamin C and potassium. You can eat it raw, mash it like you would potatoes, or enjoy it au gratin with some cheese sprinkled on top. It is also delicious with a little bit of brownde butter or some hollondaise sauce (just go easy because of the fat).
Blueberries, just like strawberries, are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. They have also been shown to support brain function. While high in health benefits, they are low in calories (1 cup = ~100 calories) and have a low glycemic index, making them an ideal snack food.
Red cabbage is a great source of vitamin K, antioxidants, and vitamin C and works as a cleansing agent for the digestive system. You can eat it raw in salads, use it in lieu of cabbage in coleslaw, or cook it with some apple juice, cloves and cinnamon for a delicious side dish.
Blue cheese might appear to have gone bad, but the mold is related to penicillin and actually fights harmful bacteria. It is often made from sheep’s or goats milk rather than cow’s milk and as a result contains less saturated fat and cholesterol while being higher in vitamin A and C, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Blue cheese is great in salads, pasta dishes, or as a sauce for vegetables.