“I don’t chase rainbows. I eat them.”
Isn’t that picture gorgeous? I can’t look at it without smiling. There’s a reason junk food companies add bright food coloring to fake food. Our eyes and bodies are drawn to the colors because in nature, they signal deep nutrition inside. In fact, each color contains a different type of nutrient for the body. That’s why it’s recommended we “eat the rainbow” every day.
If you’re following the paleo autoimmune protocol, some of the brightly colored vegetables are out during the elimination phase (nightshades, I’m looking at you!) But there are many AIP options still available, and I’ve included an abundance of choices below.
Red and Pink
Filled with phytonutrients that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating properties.
- Red Onions
- Watermelon Radishes
- Blood Oranges
- Pink and Ruby Red Grapefruit
Orange and Yellow
Filled with carotenoids that have antioxidant, blood-sugar balancing, and hormone-balancing benefits.
- Carrots (bonus points for rainbow carrots)
- Golden Beets
- Orange Cauliflower
- Sweet Potatoes
- Yellow Summer Squash
- Winter Squash (butternut, honeynut, delicata, kabocha, red kuri, acorn, etc.)
- Golden Kiwi
- Yellow Grapefruit
High in vitamins and polyphenols that benefit immune health, heart health, and nerve health.
- Chard (bonus points for rainbow chard)
- Mustard Greens
- Green Cabbage
- Green Lettuce
- Green Olives (pimentos are nightshades, so buy pimento-free)
- Leek Greens
- Scallion Greens
- Brussels Sprouts
- Bok Choy
- Honeydew Melons
Blue and Purple
High in polyphenols that benefit the brain.
- Purple Cabbage
- Purple Cauliflower
- Purple Endive
- Purple Kale
- Black Olives (pimentos are nightshades, so buy pimento-free)
- Black Currants
- Concord Grapes
Sulfur-rich foods that help our bodies detoxify.
- Leek Bulbs
Fruits and vegetables are kind of like clothes when you’re doing laundry. They often contain more than one color, so when it comes to putting them in a category, it’s tricky! Similarly, their health benefits overlap also. For example, red isn’t the only color food that can help reduce inflammation, and blue isn’t the only color to benefit the brain. The idea behind “eat the rainbow” is to inspire us to expand the variety of fruits and vegetables we eat, because while some nutrition overlaps, every food also contains something unique. Don’t get obsessed with doing this perfectly. Instead, have fun with this list! Use it to bring more beauty and flavor to your plate, as well as nutrition to your body.
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Credit: image at top of page purchased from iStock.