By Jennifer Poindexter
Have you ever heard people say you should be eating all the colors of the rainbow? You may be wondering why this matters.
Is it important enough to incorporate all the different colored vegetables into your garden? The short answer is yes.
The color of different vegetables frequently determines the different vitamins and nutrients they contain. This also determines their different “superpowers,” referencing what they could help your body with.
If you’re interested in learning what each color of a vegetable can bring to the table, then come along with me as we discuss why you should be growing vegetables with unusual colors:
1. Blue and Purple Vegetables Provide Different Nutrients
Blue, purple, or violet vegetables have important jobs once we’ve consumed them. These crops are great for keeping our cells looking and feeling young.
Plus, they contain many different antioxidants and are known for helping to block blood clots from forming within our bodies.
Eating blue or purple vegetables is also thought to help with our vision, provide cognitive support, and help fight obesity.
You may also consume this color of vegetable when trying to prevent cancer cells from forming in your body, trying to prevent heart disease, if you need help with healing a wound, and also to fight insulin resistance.
Blue and purple vegetables are high in fiber, Vitamin C, and other vital nutrients. If interested in providing nutrients to your body to keep it healthy, consider adding more blue crops to your diet.
Blue and Purple Vegetables to Choose From:
· Purple Cabbage
· Purple Cauliflower
· Purple Asparagus
· Purple Potatoes
2. Red, Yellow, and Orange Vegetables Bring Even More Nutrients to the Table
I never thought of consuming a variety of different colored vegetables until I was in my early 20’s. I was watching a television show and a nutritionist mentioned the idea.
From that point forward, when I went to the grocery store, I began looking for all the different colored options in the produce department.
Some colorful options that typically tend to stand out are the red, yellow, and orange vegetables. They’re bright and grab our attention.
More so than just being beautiful, these vegetables are thought to help with cancer prevention, liver damage, ulcers, heart disease, provide support to our immune system, and help with macular degeneration.
Red vegetables are especially thought to hunt down free radicals in the body. This is great because free radicals are thought to be cancer-causing agents in our bodies.
Red, yellow, and orange vegetables contain higher levels of beta carotene. The body then turns it into Vitamin A. This is important as Vitamin A is thought to help protect our bodies from cancer and infection.
However, these vegetables are also thought to contain Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium. These are just a few of the reasons you may want to consider adding more red, yellow, or orange vegetables to your diet.
Red, Yellow, and Orange Vegetables to Choose From:
3. Traditional Green Vegetables Still Have Their Place
When you think of vegetables, your mind may automatically go to green options. Don’t discount these vegetables just because they’re more common.
Green vegetables certainly serve their purpose when consumed. The main reason you may want to eat more green vegetables is because they’re thought to help with avoiding cancer.
The idea is green vegetables are thought to have the ability to deactivate carcinogens. These are cancer-causing agents within our bodies.
Aside from this, green vegetables contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants.
These are all wonderful things for your body. Therefore, it may be wise to grow them to encourage greater consumption of these crops.
Green Vegetables to Choose From:
4. White and Brown Vegetables Are Worth Growing, Too!
Our last color of vegetables that we’re going to cover are the white and brown vegetables. Again, these may not seem as exciting as blue, purple, red, yellow, or orange.
However, they still have their place, and they can still be unusual in some circumstances. It’s important to consume these colors of vegetables because they’re thought to contain antioxidants.
Onions fall into this category of vegetables, and they’re thought to contain allicin which is a tumor-fighting agent.
Vegetables of these colors are typically higher in fiber, potassium, beta-glucans, and EGCG. These help with heart health, immunity care, preventing cancer, boosting your metabolism, and help with digestion.
White or Brown Vegetables to Choose From:
5. Overall Purpose of Different Colored Vegetables
You now know what each color of vegetable is thought to do and what your options are for those vegetables, but are you fully convinced you should add these crops to your garden?
If not, you may want to consider the points which follow. Let’s start with the overall purpose of consuming different colored vegetables.
As you can see, vegetables are great for your body. However, there isn’t one specific color of vegetable which contains all the benefits we need.
Therefore, it’s wise to consume a variety of different colored vegetables. This is an excellent way of consuming different vitamins and minerals without consuming a ton of additional calories.
Also, the brighter the color of your food the more nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber the food is thought to contain.
If you’re trying to eat your vitamins and minerals instead of taking a bunch of extra supplements each day, consider adding different colored vegetables to your garden plot.
6. You May Wish to Grow Them Because You Can’t Always Buy Them
When I began growing different colors of vegetables in my garden, it was a conscious decision. If you go to your local “Mom and Pop” nursery, they may not have seeds or plants for sale that are different colors.
These plants are sometimes considered a specialty. Therefore, I have to purchase my seeds from seed companies and start my own plants.
This is extra work, but it’s worth it in my mind because where else will I get these vegetables? If you’re fortunate enough to live near a diverse grocery store that carries an array of different colored vegetables, that’s wonderful!
However, I’m not one of those people. If I want all the colors in my diet, I have to grow it. Not to mention, growing my vegetables gives me more control over their entire process before I consume them, and it’s still cheaper than purchasing food from my grocery store.
If you want more variety in your diet without breaking the bank or being hindered by what’s in stock at your local grocery, then consider adding different colored vegetables to your garden.
7. They Look Pretty
Another reason you may wish to grow your own different colored vegetables is for their looks. Not only is growing your own food fresher than purchasing it from a store, the produce looks better, too.
This matters if you care how your food looks. For me, I find homegrown produce has a richer flavor, and the colors are more vibrant.
That makes me happy and proud. In turn, these feelings encourage me to eat more of the good stuff.
If you aren’t sure how to use different colored vegetables, think of your favorite meals which are rich in vegetables.
Which ingredients can you substitute for a more colorful option? This will not only add different nutrients to your meal, but it should brighten up your plate.
8. Different Colored Vegetable Also Provide Different Flavors
Our last reason to consider growing vegetables of unusual colors in your garden is to add different flavors to your meals.
Most people have consumed a green bell pepper. It tastes fresh, crisp, and a slightly sweet taste. But when you eat a red, yellow, or orange bell pepper the flavor gets even sweeter.
The flavor profile isn’t a huge transition, but it will brighten up your palate. The same can be said when you consume a parsnip versus a carrot.
It’s also true when consuming different colors of tomatoes. Though they all share a similar base flavor, the different colors do bring different flavors to your recipe.
If you’re interested in adding more flavor to your day-to-day meals, consider growing different colors of vegetables around your home garden.
You now have a variety of reasons as to why you should be growing vegetables with unusual colors. There are health benefits to consuming different colored vegetables.
But there are also visual and flavorful benefits as well. If you’re interested in stepping outside of the proverbial box when gardening and cooking your own meals, consider starting with growing a rainbow of colors in your garden.
Vegetable Colors Reference Chart
|Tomatoes, Red Bell Peppers, Red Cabbage, Red Onions, Radishes, Red Chilies, Red Beets, Red Amaranth Leaves, Red Malabar Spinach, Red Okra
|Carrots, Orange Bell Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins, Butternut Squash, Orange Cauliflower, Chayote, Turmeric Root, Orange Heirloom Tomatoes
|Yellow Bell Peppers, Yellow Tomatoes, Yellow Squash, Corn, Yellow Beets, Yellow Zucchini, Yellow Wax Beans, Pattypan Squash, Yellow Dragon Fruit, Golden Berries, Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes
|Green Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Spinach, Green Beans, Asparagus, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Zucchini, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Peas, Swiss Chard, Kale, Okra, Celery, Green Onions, Fiddlehead Ferns, Moringa, Bok Choy, Collard Greens, Watercress, Purslane, Edible Amaranth, Mizuna, Komatsuna, Malabar Spinach
|Blue Potatoes, Purple Asparagus, Blue Corn
|Eggplant, Purple Bell Peppers, Purple Cabbage, Purple Cauliflower, Purple Carrots, Purple Potatoes, Purple Kohlrabi, Purple Brussels Sprouts, Purple Broccoli, Purple Tomatillos, Ube (Purple Yam)
|Cauliflower, White Onions, Turnips, White Mushrooms, Parsnips, Garlic, Jicama, Daikon Radish, White Asparagus, White Corn, White Eggplant, White Radish, Lotus Root, White Heirloom Tomatoes, Bamboo Shoots, Kohlrabi, Celeriac
|Potatoes, Shiitake Mushrooms, Portobello Mushrooms, Crimini Mushrooms, Brown Lentils, Jerusalem Artichokes, Burdock Root, Oyster Mushrooms, Enoki Mushrooms, Lion’s Mane Mushrooms, Morel Mushrooms, Truffles, Chestnut Mushrooms, Chinese Artichokes, Taro Root, Breadfruit