Health Benefits of Colorful Ferments
While reading this post it occurred to me that the compounds in almost every color of fruit or vegetable is shown to prevent cancer. Could it then be true that if folks just replaced the processed foods in their diets with fresh fruits and vegetables of all the colors, they are one step closer to preventing cancer for themselves? Something to ponder.
Posted by Ashley
A nutritionist once told me I should “eat the rainbow,” meaning I should include a fruit or vegetable from each different color in my diet every single day. That may seem like a tall order, but there’s good reasons why the color of a vegetable or fruit is an important indicator of the nutrients inside. By creating “fermented salads” or colorful ferments containing multiple colored vegetables, you’re ensuring that your diet is varied nutritionally, and you’ll get the extra health benefits of fermentation on top of the health benefits of each color of produce.
Pro tip: Remember there’s no need to limit yourself to vegetables either. Adding a stray apple slice or a few pitted cherries is a sure-fire way to balance out the tang in your ferment with a little sweetness, while increasing color variation at the same time!
The Health Benefits of Colorful Ferments
Red fruits and vegetables often contain anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that help defend against free radical damage in the body (think anti-cancer food medicine). Tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit are also high in lycopene, which is another compound thought to fight cancer in the body. Most red produce also tends to be high in vitamins A and C, helping you get your daily dose of essential nutrients as well.
Great examples of red foods to include in your ferments include: red peppers, tomatoes, radishes, cranberries, apples, rhubarb and beets.
Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables get their color from carotenoids, which are known to help improve immune function and help with heart and vision problems. One well-known carotenoid is Beta-carotene, a biological precursor to vitamin A. They also tend to be rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound.
Nutrient rich examples of orange foods to include in your ferments include: carrots, orange and yellow peppers, pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow summer squash and corn.
Green produce gets its color from chlorophyll that the plants use to metabolize sunlight into energy. Many green fruits and vegetables contain insoles, or cancer fighting compounds, as well as lutein, which helps with vision problems. Dark leafy greens are also well known sources of vitamins A, C and K and folate (all especially important for pregnant or nursing mothers).
Green fruits and vegetables are everywhere, but good examples to include in your ferments include: Kale, green grapes, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, cabbage, leeks and peas.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables tend to be rich in antioxidant phytonutrient compounds that fight cancer, support memory function and help maintain urinary tract health. Anthocyanin in blueberries has been shown to protect against cancer and heart disease, while eggplant anthocyanin reduced the presence of precancerous cells in laboratory tests.
Purple and blue fruits and vegetables are a little less common, but easy to include if you know where to look. Try these: purple cabbage, eggplant, purple carrots, purple peppers, blueberries, black currants and elderberries.
White foods take their white color from polyphenol compounds called anthoxanthins, which have antioxidant properties and protect against heart disease and cancer. White foods in particular have also been shown to reduce your risk of stroke.
White fruits and vegetables for your ferments include: garlic, onions, cauliflower, Jerusalem artichokes, kohlrabi, parsnips and turnips.
Bruso, Jessica. “Do colors in fruits and vegetables play an important role?” Healthy Eating. Accessed July 22nd 2016. Web. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/colors-fruits-vegetables-play-important-role-1660.html
“Fruit and Veggie Color List.” Fruits & Veggies More Matters. Accessed July 22nd 2016. Web. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fruit-and-veggie-color-list
“Pick from a Rainbow of Beautiful Fruits and Veggies.” Everyday Health. Accessed July 22nd 2016. Web. https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-recipe-pictures/pick-from-a-rainbow-of-beautiful-fruits-and-veggies.aspx#01
Roizman, Tracey. “Colors of Vegetables & Their Nutrients.” Healthy Eating. Accessed July 22nd 2016. Web. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/colors-vegetables-nutrients-2311.html
“The Five Colors You Need to Eat Routinely…And Why.” Body Ecology. Accessed July 22nd 2016. Web. http://bodyecology.com/articles/five_colors_eat_routinely.php
Unlike canning and freezing, fermenting fruits and vegetables enhances their nutritional value. For everything you will need to create your own colorful ferments, visit the Fermentools store.