UACES Facebook Eating a Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables from the Garden

Eating a Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables from the Garden

Hippocrates once said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." He knew long ago what researchers are saying today, that fruits and vegetables have essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals needed to keep us healthy.

TEXARKANA, Ark. –

rainbow of fruits and vegetables
RAINBOW -- Enjoy a rainbow of various fruits and vegetables, each offering essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals needed to keep you healthy.

My small garden is growing and is bursting with color. I have already harvest jalapeno peppers that I am using, and my herbs smell so fragrant and are a great addition to my meals. My squash is giving me the bright yellow crooknecks I love, tomatoes that are waiting to ripen, green bean and pinto bean plants grow taller by the day and I am waiting, somewhat patiently, for my okra to give me those beautiful white blooms meaning I will soon have fresh okra to cook. From my small 10 foot by 10 foot raised garden, my family has produce to eat from the rainbow this summer.

It was Hippocrates who said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” He knew long ago what researchers are saying today, that fruits and vegetables have essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals needed to keep us healthy.

Phytochemicals are natural substances that give fruits and vegetables their colors. Researchers think they may help protect against some cancers, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions.

To get these phytochemicals and other vitamins and minerals in our diet, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables from each color group. Add variety not only in the fruits and vegetables we eat, but also in the color spectrum.

Blue/purple fruits and vegetables can help maintain your urinary tract health; lower the risk of some cancers; improve memory function; and healthy aging. Consider such produce as purple cabbage; eggplant; purple Belgian endive; purple peppers; blackberries; blueberries; purple grapes; plums and raisins.

Green produce can lower your risk of some cancers; improve vision health; and make strong bones and teeth. Eat artichokes; arugula; asparagus; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; zucchini; cucumbers; okra; peppers; avocados; green apples; kiwifruit; limes; green pears and of course green apples.

White, tan and brown fruits and vegetables help to improve heart health; maintain cholesterol levels that are already healthy; and lower the risk of some cancers. Include foods such as bananas; dates; white peaches; cauliflower; mushrooms; turnips; white corn; onions; kohlrabi and garlic in your daily diet.

Yellow and orange colored fruits and vegetables are known to contain vitamin C, the vitamin essential in fighting off infections and colds, as well as helping keep your gums healthy. Add apricots; cantaloupe; grapefruit; oranges; mangoes; papayas; lemon; butternut squash; carrots; yellow peppers; pumpkin; sweet corn; sweet potatoes; and rutabagas to your diet.

Red fruits and vegetables are thought to promote better health through lycopene, a relative of beta-carotene. It is thought that lycopene may help reduce the risk of some cancers, including prostrate. Red is also a good color to for a healthy heart; and improved memory function and urinary tract health.

Include red fruits and vegetables in your diet through red apples; cherries; cranberries; pomegranates; strawberries; watermelon; beets; red peppers; radishes; red onions; red potatoes; rhubarb; and tomatoes.

Make sure you eat a rainbow of colors from the garden and take advantage of the vitamins and minerals that fruits and vegetables have to offer. Fill your basket with a rainbow of color with local fruits and vegetables at farmers markets.

Receive free information on storing fruits and vegetables by clicking here or contact the University of Arkansas Division of Ag, Miller County Extension Service, in the courthouse at 400 Laurel Suite 215, call 870-779-3609, or e-mail chaley@uaex.edu. Also follow me on facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, twitter at @MillerCountyFCS  and Instagram millercountyfcs_carlahadley.

Zippy Zucchini Salad includes several colors of the rainbow. It is quick to make and tastes better the longer it sits, making it a great make ahead dish.

Zippy Zucchini Salad

1 medium sized zucchini (can substitute yellow squash), chopped

1 green onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

One fourth cup vinegar

Combine all chopped vegetables in a medium size bowl. In a canning jar, combine sugar, oil, and vinegar. Put the lid on and shake well. Pour dressing over the vegetables and toss gently.  Cover and chill until serving time. Makes 4 one half cup servings.

By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609
chaley@uaex.edu

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