Fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients that older adults need for good health. Not only should older adults eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to meet their nutritional needs but they should eat them based on color for specific benefits.
Red – for health heart, memory, and cancer prevention
Red foods that older adults should choose include tomatoes, bell peppers, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, rhubarb, pomegranates, beets, strawberries, watermelon, grapes, apples, grapefruits, radishes, and onions. Compounds in these foods include vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, and quercetin that protects against colds, flus, and allergies, and lycopene that protects against cancer.
Orange and Yellow – for healthy immune system, vision and heart health and cancer
Foods that are orange and yellow include oranges, peppers, apples, pumpkin, lemons, cantaloupes, mangoes, corn, peaches, nectarines, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. They are filled with folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and magnesium.
Green – for vision, strong teeth and bones
Most green vegetables provide the nutrition older adults needs and can be easily added to their diet. Asparagus, broccoli, okra, lettuce, celery, cucumber, beans, kale, apple, kiwi, avocado, and honeydew are all nutritious and add to overall good health. Some of the compounds in green foods include vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate. Green foods also can lower the risk for cancer and prevent vision problems.
Blue and Purple – for health aging, heart and memory
Foods that are blue and purple can add powerful antioxidants to the good health of older adults. Blueberries, blackberries, plums, eggplant, grapes, berries, and cabbage, protect organs and joints, regulate body temperature, and may lower the risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, macular degeneration and memory problems. Blue and purple foods also keep vision and immune systems healthy and lower the risk for urinary tract infections.
White – for healthy immune system, heart and blood pressure
Many white foods such as onions, garlic, cauliflower, parsnips, potatoes, mushrooms, bananas, and leeks all provide key nutrients for older adults. They include vitamin C, vitamin C, folate, potassium, and fiber. They also lower bad cholesterol (LDL), lower the risk for high blood pressure and cancer, and increase good cholesterol (HDL).
Do your part to help older adults eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. These brightly colored foods contain different nutrients for maintaining or achieving overall good health.