A typical American dinner includes brown French fries, a brown hamburger on white buns and a white (vanilla) milkshake. Not very pretty. But choosing colorful foods does more than transforming your plate into a pretty picture: Studies show that a colorful diet (sometimes called a rainbow diet) can dramatically improve your health both physically and emotionally, according to Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, who is a spokesperson for the California Dried Plum Board in partnership with Dr. Mehmet Oz. And we're talking more than plums: Here's what Leslie, author of "Walk Your Butt Off!: Go from Sedentary to Slim in 12 Weeks with This Breakthrough Walking Plan" (click here to order now) suggests:
- Red: Watermelon and tomatoes provide our bodies with lycopene, reducing the risk of certain cancers and supporting bone health, says Leslie. Tip: Keep tomato sauce in your cupboard for pastas or add salsa to your salads, such as Arriba! Fire Roasted Mexican Red Salsa.
- Orange: From carrots to cantaloupe to pumpkin, orange foods contain carotene to benefit the health of your eyes. Tip: Try mixing canned plain pumpkin such as Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin with plain non-fat Greek yogurt, a dash of cinnamon and a spoonful of honey for a fabulous dessert.
- Green: Get creative with cabbage and bold with broccoli to get cancer-fighting carotenoids into your menus. Tip: Use Produce Partners Super Slaw Mix for homemade coleslaw flavor.
- Purple or Blue: Eggplant, dried plums (also known as prunes!) and blueberries provide a higher level of antioxidants, which battle free radicals. The result: You can improve the aging process while protecting yourself against cancer and heart disease. For a great snack, try Newman's Own Organics California Prunes (click here to order).