Color Your Plate Orange

by Sue Taggart

Orange is such a happy, vibrant happy color—it makes me smile! Orange food has the same effect. It looks great on the plate as well as delivering some tremendous health benefits. As I was shopping for this past weekend, I found some wonderful orange fruits and veggies to add to my menus. It’s the carotenes that give many of these vegetables their orange color and different carotenes deliver different health benefits:

• Beta-carotene – A fat soluble pro-vitamin that the body converts into Vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. It is thought to play a role in protecting cells, essential for vision and boosting the immune system, beta-carotene has been cited as having cancer fighting properties.
• Alpha- carotene – Displays significant anti-aging properties and it converts to Vitamin A in the body. It’s best absorbed with fat, so roasting or serving with olive oil, or pairing with avocado will enhance it’s benefits
• Flavonoids—hesperidin and naringenin in particular—are prevalent in citrus. These powerful flavonoids help reduce inflammation and blood vessel damage caused by poor diets.

Here is a list of a few orange items, along with their healthy carotenes and vitamins, that you may want to add to your next grocery list:

Carrots – Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), alpha- carotene
Orange Peppers – Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), Antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin E
Butternut Squash – Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), Alpha-carotene
Sweet Potato – Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), Alpha-carotene, Vitamin C
Cantaloupe – Alpha-carotene, Polyphenols, Vitamin C
Persimmon – Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), Antioxidant, Vitamin A, Vitamin C
Oranges – Flavonoids, Vitamin C
Papaya – Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), Antioxidant, Vitamin C, Enzyme papain
Apricots – Beta-carotene (Vitamin A, Antioxidants, Vitamin C
Peaches – Beta-carotene (Vitamin A),Vitamin C, Beta-crytoxanthion, Vitamin E, Vitamin K
Tomatoes – Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6

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