As just about every health professional will tell you, diet and exercise are the two pillars of a healthy life. That’s why at Brandermill Woods we work hard to make sure our community members have access to top-notch fitness and dining options. In fact, our recent expansion includes a Wellness Center with a new fitness room and pool as well as a casual dining bistro with delicious made-to-order meals.
But, as our Dining Director Graham Peers will tell you, a balanced diet has to hit both notes of delicious and nutritious. “One hallmark of nutrition comes from the color on your plate,” he explained. “Eating a colorful variety of foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, helps you get all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and energized.”
You may remember the acronym ROYGBIV from your grade school days — a way to identify the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. To help you taste the rainbow, here are seven colorful foods we recommend adding to your diet this month:
Red Tomatoes: Virginia might be known for its peanut farms, but two counties north of us, Hanover, is arguably home to the best tomatoes on the planet. Whatever variety you prefer, these superfoods are filled with nutrients and are delicious raw, cooked or mixed in a sauce. Why are we even recommending them? We suspect there’s a good chance you already have something tomato on the menu this week.
Orange Cantaloupe: It would be too easy to recommend just oranges, wouldn’t it? Their pastel fruit cousin the cantaloupe offers a huge dose of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamins C and A. What really makes the cantaloupe stick out, however, is its nutritional diversity, offering everything from potassium to heart-healthy fiber.
Yellow Butternut Squash: This tasty treat is a great option to replace the traditional baked potato side. Among its many benefits, butternut squash contains abundant potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure; fiber for improved digestion; manganese for a healthy bone structure; and vitamin C for boosting your immune system and giving your skin a healthy glow.
Green Asparagus: While you can’t go wrong with just about any green vegetable, asparagus is an outstanding choice. Not only is it delicious, it is an excellent source of vitamin K, folate, copper, B vitamins, dietary fiber and on and on. This wealth of nutrients is hard to find in such high concentrations, making asparagus a true “superfood.”
Blueberries: Is it cheating to have the color in the name of the food itself? Regardless, you really can’t overestimate the power of blueberries. Not only are these sweet berries the perfect treat any time of day, they are packed with vitamins and antioxidants to keep your body full of energy and in good health.
Indigo Red Cabbage: Isaac Newton may have assigned blue, indigo and violet to the rainbow, but we’re pretty sure there’s at least one redundant color in there. Whatever its hue, red cabbage fits within the general spectrum and should be added to anyone’s diet immediately. Immune-boosting, disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants: you name it, red cabbage has it, so mix some into your next salad.
Violet Eggplant: With a suite of vitamins and minerals, eggplant truly is one of the world’s healthiest foods. But the real reason it made our list (beyond its lovely shade of purple) is that eggplant contains important “phytonutrients,” which protect against free radicals and may help improve brain functioning. If that’s not enough, the cardiovascular benefits of eggplant are just as powerful, lowering cholesterol and promoting circulation.