A fruit and veggie market is a feast for the eyes as well as for the body. All the colours – the bright and sumptuous reds, the verdant greens, the vibrant oranges and yellows, and the deep, dark blues and purples – are a sensual delight and a bounty of nutrients. If these colourful fruits and veggies had labels, they'd read like the bottles of vitamins and supplements on health-store shelves: fibre, vitamins and minerals galore, and antioxidants. Since fruits and veggies don't have labels, it's their colours that reveal some of their nutritional rewards.
Phytochemicals, compounds found in fruits and vegetables, are like nature's paintbrush, giving plant- and fruit-derived foods their hue and some of their nutritional oomph. Beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene, for example, are phytochemicals known as antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce cancer risks by helping our bodies to neutralize free radicals, which are compounds that can damage our cells. To reap the benefits of this healthy harvest, crack the fruit and veggie colour code.
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