Power Colors

The rich hues found in fruits from around the world help
explain their health-enhancing abilities.


September 2011

When you see deep color in the produce aisle, dive in—powerful nutrition is close at hand. That’s because pigmented produce indicates the presence of phytonutrients, which help the body fight inflammation, destroy cancerous cells and keep blood flowing freely— among numerous other benefits.

Fruit phytonutrients have been found to be, well, especially fruitful when it comes to promoting health. And when you consider the other nutrients fruits provide—vitamins, minerals, fatty acids—it’s easy to see why many people are turning to the most richly hued fruits (and whole-food supplements based on them) in an effort to maintain vitality and well-being.

FRUIT APPEARANCE WHERE GROWN HEALTH BENEFITS
Açai Small, purplish berry Native to Central and South
America, most notably Brazil
Contains antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals; provides vitamin A and healthy fats in addition to a high fiber content; may support heart and immune health
Bilberry Tiny, nearly black berries; close relative of the blueberry Found in temperate climates throughout the world British pilots in World War II reported better night vision after eating bilberry jam; contains
anthocyanosides, which appear to protect the retina in addition to strengthening blood vessels
Black Currant Glossy, black berries with an astringent taste
Native to northern Europe and Asia High in vitamin C, also supplies gamma linoleic acid (GLA), iron, potassium and vitamin B5; contains anthocyanins, which have shown inflammation-fighting effects in studies
Blueberry Dark-blue berries second only to strawberries in popularity Native to North America Studies suggest that blueberries can improve memory in older adults; other research has linked them with protection against heart disease and cancer, and with improved blood sugar control
Cherry Colors include black, red and white; two main types, sour and sweet
Black cherry native to eastern North America Good source of antioxidant phytonutrients; traditional usage in arthritis and gout relief supported by studies; may boost muscle recovery after exercise
Cranberry Bright-red berries Found in cool, boggy areas through- out the Northern Hemisphere Helps keep bacteria from adhering to cells lining the urinary tract and gums; studies have found evidence of heart-protective and anti-inflammatory properties
Goji Orange-red fruits also known as wolfberries Native to Asia and eastern Europe Rich source of antioxidant phytonutrients and carotenoids such as beta-carotene; used in Traditional Chinese Medicine
to improve circulation, fight insomnia and protect the eyes and liver
Grape Dozens of varieties available in white, red or black Native to Asia, Europe and North America Contains resveratrol, believed to mimic the anti-aging effects of a calorie-restricted diet and noted for protecting the cardiovascular system; may help protect against cancer
Mangosteen Reddish-purple fruit with creamy white flesh Native to islands in the South Pacific Used by traditional healers to treat skin and digestive tract infections; contains xanthones, which are under investigation for possible anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and cancer-protective effects
Noni Oval, yellow-white fruit Native to Southeast Asia but now widely cultivated in tropical areas Contains phytonutrients that may help ease inflammation, protect the cardiovascular system and fight cancer development
Pomegranate Large red fruit that contains many pulpy seeds Grown from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent and in the US Long used in India’s Ayurvedic medicine as an astringent and heart tonic; has helped fight development of cancer and atherosclerosis in laboratory studies
Raspberry Red, black and yellow berries
consist of small seed-bearing sacs
Native to North America High in vitamin C, manganese and fiber, along with B vitamins, magnesium and potassium; has shown an ability to fight cancer and high blood pressure in laboratory research

 

 

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