Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bright Colorful Foods!

Warm weather has arrived (I am sure you have probably noticed), and it’s time for the delicious foods that we associate with the sunny days of summer: sweet berries, succulent plums, apricots, peaches, and nectarines; deep red Bing or bright yellow Rainier cherries; flavorful red and black grapes, velvety mangoes and kiwi; and tomatoes. Don't forget the wonderful veggies: sweet yellow or red onions, pungent garlic, dark leafy greens and lettuces, green zucchini squash, and bright colorful peppers. Makes you want to run out and find the first farmer's market, right?
All of these wonderful foods are colorful due to the fact that they contain plant pigments known as flavonoids. There are several types of flavonoids, and different foods vary in the types of flavonoids. No matter the type, flavonoids are an exciting area of nutritional research. Because of the high content of flavonoids in fruit- and vegetable-rich diets, scientists are investigating how they contribute to the promotion of health benefits associated with such diets.

Beneficial effects of flavonoids on human health are partly explained by their antioxidant activity. Because of the antioxidative property, it is suggested that flavonoids may delay or prevent the onset of diseases induced by free radicals. They also may inhibit low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation by free radicals. Furthermore, flavonoids have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergenic effects.

So take advantage of the abundance of local produce this summer. Visit a farmer's market and fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables: They look good, taste good, and they’re good for you!

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