Eat the Rainbow: Your Quick Guide to Colorful Eating for Colon & Overall Health by Dr. Shawn Khodadadian

Nutrition Cancer
a year ago

Eat the Rainbow: Your Quick Guide to Colorful Eating for Colon & Overall Health

Did you know that you could potentially reduce your risk of colon cancer by eating a colorful plate of fruits and veggies? According to researchers at Loma Linda University, who analyzed the dietary habits of more than 70,000 people, those who ate a diet high in diverse vegetables had a 22 percent lower overall risk of colorectal cancer than other people in the study. Here's a quick guide on how you can add the colors of the rainbow to your diet:

  • Incorporate some red. Red foods, such as tomatoes, crimson-colored beets and cranberries, are an excellent sources of vitamin C and folate (vitamin B9). They contain flavonoids and lycopene (the reason behind their red color). Both are antioxidants that promote heart health, good memory and reduce inflammation as well as potentially decreasing the risk of colorectal, lung, prostate and breast cancer.
  • Add some orange and yellow. Eating foods with the antioxidant alpha-carotene, found in such food as carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes and spaghetti squash, can help promote eye health, improve your skin and also help your immune system. The American Institute for Cancer Research reported on a study that found people with higher blood levels of alpha-carotene potentially had a decreased incidence of stomach, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.
  • Go green. Leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins A, K and calcium. The darker the green pigment, the more antioxidant beta-carotene it contains – and the more of an immune system boost and proven anti-cancer agent your body will get. By eating things like spinach and broccoli, you’re improving your bone health as well as regulating blood clotting. One recent study found that eating just over one extra serving of leafy greens a day reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent.
  • Pick blue and purple foods. Foods like blueberries, purple grapes and eggplant could help with memory, heart health and can also decrease your risk for macular degeneration. The blue or purple color comes from anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that can help prevent certain cancers like colorectal cancer and esophageal cancer.
  • Don’t forget white and tan foods. Even though they’re not technically “colorful,” you shouldn’t skimp on white and tan foods when composing a plate to prevent cancers and promote overall health. White foods, such as yogurt and cheese, contain vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus which promote bone health. Some yogurts also contain probiotics that benefit your digestive and immune systems. Even the National Institute of Health recognizes the anticancer properties of garlic, a member of the allium family of vegetables, and suggests including it in your diet. Whole grain breads, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa and other tan foods can also help you maintain healthy digestion because they contain high concentrations of fiber. They may also help reduce heart disease and the risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer and breast cancer.

The content on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Elisa Schmitz, 30Seconds
I love this visual. It makes it so easy to remember how to incorporate healthy foods into your diet. Many thanks for the insights, Dr. Shawn Khodadadian . Welcome to 30Seconds. We look forward to learning more from you!
Dawn Taylor
Thank you for this. I was scheduled for a surgery when I was 40 and my surgeon ordered a colonoscopy prior to it and I had 2 precancerous polyps. Had he not done that I would not have had a routine colonoscopy until I was 50. It is scary to think about. I have them now every 3 years.
I also pay close attention to my diet and stay active. It is SO important to eat a colorful, variety of foods for so many reasons.
Love how you simplify it and provide such important information.

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