Learn to choose fruits, veggies for benefits

Dr. David Heber has developed the Color Code System for selecting seven different varieties of fruits and vegetables each day to provide specific health benefits. The specific antioxidants responsible for the preventive benefits are in parentheses.

His new book, "What Color Is Your Diet?: The Seven Colors of Health," written in collaboration with Virginia Hopkins and Susan Bowerman, will be published next month by Regan Books.

The following table is reprinted with permission. The preventive benefits are potential and based on the current understanding of science in these areas. In the following examples, various fruits and vegetables in each color group have multiple compounds that work together to provide some of these benefits.

Red (Lycopene)

Tomatoes, pasta sauce, tomato soup, tomato-based juices (spicy or regular), ketchup, pink grapefruit, watermelon.

Preventive benefits: prostate and lung cancer, heart disease, antioxidant.

Red-purple (Anthocyanidins, resveratrol)

Grapes, red wine, grape juice, prunes, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, red peppers, plums, cherries, eggplant, red beets, raisins and red apples and pears.

Preventive benefits: protects DNA, cancer, antioxidant.

Orange (Beta carotene)

Carrots, mangos, apricots, cantaloupes, pumpkin, acorn squash, winter squash, and sweet potatoes.

Preventive benefits: cancer, antioxidant.

Orange-yellow (Terpenoids, vitamin C)

Orange juice, oranges and tangerines, yellow grapefruit, lemon, lime, peaches, papaya, pineapple, nectarines, and lemon, lime, and orange rinds zested as a seasoning or in drinks.

Preventive benefits: cancer, heart disease, antioxidant.

Yellow-green (Lutein)

Spinach, avocado, collard, mustard, or turnip greens, green peas, green beans, green peppers, yellow peppers, cucumber, kiwi.

Preventive benefits: vision, cancer, heart disease.

Green (Glucosinolates)

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage or bok choi, kale.

Preventive benefits: cancer, heart disease.

White-green (Allyl sulfides)

Garlic, onions, leeks, celery, asparagus, artichokes, endive, and chives, and mushrooms.

Preventive benefits: circulation, blood pressure.

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