Q: Is it true that we should eat only deeply colored vegetables and fruits?
A: No. The deep color in vegetables such as deep green broccoli and spinach, orange carrots and sweet potatoes, and red tomatoes is a sign they contain healthful plant compounds called phytochemicals. The color of red and pink grapefruit indicates presence of the healthful compound lycopene that is absent from white grapefruit. However, white produce is valuable, too. Onions, garlic, cauliflower and white mushrooms all provide compounds that seem to inhibit several steps in the process of cancer development. White potatoes provide vitamin C and fiber, as well as other nutrients. The problem is just that many Americans rely on white potatoes for far too great a proportion of their vegetable choices, ignoring others. Aiming for all the colors of the rainbow is one good strategy for choosing vegetables you eat daily, but unlike rainbows in the sky, the rainbow on your plate can include white.
Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research