Color Code for Wellness

Color Code for Wellness

I have just returned from a week at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ. It was a week routed in health; mind, body and soul.

Every time I am there, I always attend the lectures surrounding nutrition. In our lives that are crazy busy and temptation everywhere, how can we become a bit more conscious to live healthier lives?

The answer is in the color. The basis of a diet rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients begins with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables contends David Heber, M.D, PH. D of the University of California, Los Angeles. Below are seven color groupings of produce. Dr. Heber recommends eating at least one serving (½ cup) from each group daily for cancer protection.

Colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables.



  • Key Phytonutrient: Lycopene, a carotenoid
  • Benefits: Induces enzymes that help protect cells against carcinogens, strong antioxidant properties, may protect against prostate and lung cancers.
  • Best Food Sources: Grapefruit or juice (pink), pasta sauce, tomatoes, watermelon


  • Key Phytonutrient: Alpha & Beta Carotene, two carotenoids
  • Benefits: Improves communication between cells that fight the spread of cancer, may help prevent lung cancer.
  • Best Food Sources: Apricots or nectar, cantaloupe, carrots or juice, mango, pumpkin, squash (acorn or winter), sweet potatoes.


  • Key Phytonutrient: Anthocyanins, Powerful Antioxidants
  • Benefits: Prevents the binding of carcinogens to DNA, may help protect against gastrointestinal cancers.
  • Best Food Sources: Red apple, red bell pepper, blackberries, blueberries, red cabbage, cherries, cranberry juice or sauce, eggplant red/purple grapes & juice, red pears, plums, prunes, strawberries, red wine.


  • Key Phytonutrient: Beta-cryptothanzin, a carotenoid, limonoid
  • Benefits: Inhibits cholesterol synthesis needed to activate cancer cell growth
  • Best Food Sources: Yellow grapefruit/juice, nectarine, orange/juice, papaya, peach/nectar, pineapple/juice, tangerine/juice.


  • Key Phytonutrient: Sulforphane, isothiocyanate, indoles
  • Benefits: Stimulates the release of enzymes that break down cancer-causing chemicals in the liver, may inhibit early tumor growth
  • Best Food Sources: Bok Choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, swiss chard, watercress.


  • Key Phytonutrients: Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids; folate
  • Benefits: Helps correct DNA imbalances, helps stimulate enzymes that break down carcinogens.
  • Best Food Sources: Avocado, Bell pepper (green/yellow), collard greens, corn, cucumber, green beans, honeydew melon, kiwifruit, mustard greens, green peas, romaine lettuce, spinach, turnip greens, zucchini with skin.


  • Key Phytonutrients: Allicin, flavonoids
  • Benefits: Stimulates enzymes that may protect cells against carcinogens
  • Best Food Sources: Artichokes, asparagus, celery, chives, endive, garlic, green grapes, leeks, mushrooms, onions, green pear, white wine.

Food in the center point often of our social lives and we must continue to enjoy. Just being a little more conscious of what we put in our bodies may make a huge difference to our longevity.

Keep eating those colors!!!!!
Resources: What Color is Your Diet? The Seven Colors of Health of David Heber, MD with Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D. Environmental Nutrition interview with David Heber, M.D.