EAT THE RAINBOW
12-Year-Old Nutrition Expert Shares How Families Can Make Healthy Eating Fun!
by Kai Nunziato-Cruz
My name is Kai; I’m 12 years old and I am fascinated with food and nutrition! Last year I published a book called, “Digest This Now for Kids!” to teach kids and parents how to get healthy and stay healthy through good nutrition. One of my favorite nutrition topics to talk about is the power of eating green food. But whenever I teach about greens I have tons of people asking, “what about the colorful veggies and fruits?” Of course, they’re good for you too so thought I would tell you a little about those as well.
THE REDS – Red fruits and vegetables such as raspberries, guava, watermelon, cherries, strawberries, and beets are very rich in certain antioxidants. Antioxidants are very important for the body (I know these are big words but they are important for the body and you should probably learn about them). They help to reduce damage that is caused to our cells by free radicals (free radicals are bad atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging and nobody wants that). Think of free radicals like bullies in your body that want to damage your really important cells that are keeping you healthy. Where do these bullies come from you ask? Free radicals are produced naturally in the body, but certain things you eat or are exposed to can make way more of them than you want. Things like exposure to chemicals (found in processed foods), smoking, alcohol, and eating lots of fried foods. But eating antioxidants regularly can fight off the bullies. They can help lower the risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke and memory problems. Several of these brightly colored fruits and vegetables also have essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and C, folate, and potassium. To see my YouTube video on strawberries click here.
THE ORANGE AND YELLOWS – Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as carrots, peaches, certain peppers, and certain squashes, are rich in carotenoids. The carotenoids can help improve our immune system (the system in your body that fights off infections) and again lowers our risk for cancer, heart disease and vision problems. The orange and yellow fruits and vegetables also have certain vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin C, potassium, and bromium. On a side note, folate and vitamin C are also antioxidants. To see my YouTube video on peaches click here.
THE PURPLES AND BLUES – Purple and blue fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, grapes, purple cabbages, purple potatoes, and plums contain you guessed it more antioxidants (are you seeing a pattern here?) The antioxidants found in blueberries have been shown to fight cancer cells of certain cancers, for example lung and stomach cancers. Many of the antioxidants found in this color can also reduce inflammation in the body. What is inflammation you ask? You know when a cut swells up, turns red and hurts? That is inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to something bad that can harm it. This can be bacteria forming in a cut or a splinter piercing your finger, for example. Inflammation happens when your immune system fights against something that may turn out to be harmful. The crazy thing is inflammation can happen on the inside of your body as well and can cause you to get really sick. Antioxidants help decrease inflammation helping your body to heal faster. To see my YouTube video on how to make a killer fruit smoothie that has blueberries in it click here.
THE WHITES – White vegetables and fruits such as cauliflower, bananas, apples, cucumbers, and pears are very high in fiber – which is something that helps you go poo on a regular basis. And once again, they are also rich in the antioxidants, helping to fight cancer, heart disease, memory problems and stroke (again seeing a theme here – many people I know that are sick or have passed away because of one of these major illnesses). These white fruits and vegetables are also good sources of vitamin C, folate, niacin, riboflavin, potassium, and the list goes on. I know these are big words but they are really important for the health of your body.
It is important to make sure that you get a variety of vegetables and fruit of all colors on a weekly basis. Did you know that every fruit and vegetable has its own vitamin and mineral make-up? If you eat the same ones all the time you are only getting the vitamins and minerals from those vegetables and fruit. You must eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to truly get what the body needs to be well.
ABOUT KAI NUNZIATO-CRUZ:
Kai Nunziato-Cruz is a 12-year-old nutrition expert from Arizona. As the son of Liz Cruz M.D., a board-certified Gastroenterologist, and Tina Nun¬ziato, a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Kai has watched his Moms for years help adults get well and stay well with their books, podcast, online home study program and more and felt it was his mission to take those same teachings to kids.
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