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Mid Coast Center for Community Health & Wellness Newsletter
February 2018
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Eat the Rainbow Starts Early in Schools

Eat the Rainbow

During February, local schools have teamed up with Mid Coast Hospital’s 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! program to promote healthy eating and activity with a Colors Week celebration. Each day of Colors Week, a different color of the rainbow is featured and fruits and vegetables of that color are offered to students during school lunch. The goal is to encourage children to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Additionally, schools celebrate with their own unique activities to promote active living and healthful eating.

Adding a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables to your diet helps your body obtain different vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed to stay healthy. With increased flu and viral activity this season, taking the time to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to keep illness at bay.

Here is a quick guide to eating the rainbow and what each color group of fruits and vegetables can do for you:

    Tomatoes

  • Red: Red/pink grapefruit, tomatoes, watermelon, and apricots contain lycopene, the first of many antioxidants found in our list of colorful produce. This antioxidant has anti-aging and cancer-fighting properties for healthy skin, hair, and internal organs.
  • Orange: Blood oranges, sweet potato, carrots, mango, and pumpkin all contain carotenoids. These vitaminA precursors are found in nearly all fruits and vegetables, but are most noticeable in ripe fruit, which were previously masked by chlorophyll during the growing process. They support night vision, and also absorb damaging UV light.
  • Tomatoes

  • Yellow: Peaches, pineapple, and citrus fruits provide loads of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that supports collagen and also fends off the common cold.
  • Green: The Brassica family, including broccoli, kale, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts are cancer fighters. They contain seleniumand vitamin C, powerful antioxidants that help renew each other with the help of vitamin E to fight free radicals in all of your cells. Brassicas also help support thyroid function and metabolism, as well as support the liver’s detoxifying enzymes.
  • Tomatoes

  • Blue/Violet: Blueberries, grapes, purple cabbage, and eggplant are serious antioxidants. The anthocyanin pigment is known to protect skin and other tissues from damaging UV rays and free radicals, preserve collagen, and maintain the structure of small capillaries.
  • Tomatoes

  • White/Tan: Onions, shallots, and garlic contain sulfur-based nutrients that are key to protecting DNA from damage. Additionally, the antibacterial properties can fend off infections and inflammation associated with acne and other skin irritations. This means sensitive tissues, like your skin, which are prone to damage from the sun and the environment, have an internal shield against such attacks.
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