Why You Should Be Eating More Yellow and Orange Vegetables

We’ve all heard about the health-boosting properties of leafy greens. We applaud ourselves when we dig into salads made from spinach leaves mixed into romaine and arugula. A lot of us have even learned to love kale chips. But what about those other bright colors of the nutrition rainbow? It turns out that yellow and orange vegetables are superstars, too, and most of us should be eating a lot more of them.  

study released this spring that followed the eating habits of more than 100,000 Americans showed just how far a lot of us have fallen when it comes to getting the recommended two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day. Most people in the U.S. are eating only one serving of fruit and one and a half servings of vegetables each day. The people who do manage to eat the recommended “five a day” have a 13% lower risk of death caused by chronic conditions like cancer, heart or respiratory diseases, the study showed. 

Punch your health up a notch. So why are yellow and orange vegetables so good for you? They pack a vitamin and antioxidant punch that can help keep you healthy and prevent disease. Many yellow and orange produce are known for their vitamin A, C and E content along with potassium, a variety of antioxidants and fiber. Whether you’re forking up another piece of pumpkin pie or biting into slices of crispy yellow bell pepper, here are some of the benefits you’ll that come along with many yellow and orange veggies: 

  • Boosts your immune system 
  • Lowers blood pressure 
  • Helps keep your eyes healthy and reduces macular degeneration risk 
  • Lowers your LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels 
  • Helps build healthier bones 
  • Supports joint health 
  • May reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men 

Spotting these colorful superstars. The best way to familiarize yourself with what’s available as you add more orange and yellow vegetables into your diet is to take a slow spin around the produce section and frozen food aisles at your grocery store. Some good ones to look for: 

Orange: 

  • Carrots 
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Pumpkins 
  • Orange peppers  
  • Acorn or Butternut squash 

Yellow: 

  • Golden beets 
  • Spaghetti squash 
  • Corn 
  • Yellow beans 
  • Yellow peppers 

Meal tips. If you’re looking for some new ways to incorporate these into your meals and snacks, we have some suggestions: 

Sweet potatoes: These gems are not just for the holidays. Bake them and serve them drizzled with olive oil and a touch of honey or slice them into a hearty stew. Try this recipe for a sweet potato casserole that tastes like a dessert.  

Orange and yellow peppers: Slice them and serve them raw with hummus or your favorite dip. Or caramelize them with a sweet onion and olive oil over low heat until they “melt” and mix them into some brown rice with a little crumbled feta cheese on top. 

Carrots: Nothing beats the sweetness of an oven-roasted carrot. Mix them with a little olive oil, your favorite seasonings, and put them in a 425-degree oven for a half hour. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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